What stood out to me the most were the main themes of love and revenge. The fact that the two were separated by so thin a line did not surprise me either. Perhaps if I had not read the book while thinking about love and revenge I might not fully understand why the two are so similar...BUT...since I did, it now seems that the two are one in the same.
Not only are they one in the same, but it seems like they are a direct result of one another. Born out of eachother, if you will.
The first example of this would be in Heathcliff and Hindley Earnshaw. Though we don't understand his reasoning (yet?) Mr. Earnshaw sees something in young Heathcliff that he instantly falls in love with. So much so that he brings him home and treats him as his most loved son for the remainder of his years. Out of this love for Heathcliff from Mr. Earnshaw, Hindley begins to grow a deep hatred for Heathcliff that will last throughout the remainder of his years: "
Heathcliff also has a need for revenge: "I'm trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back. I don't care how long I wait, if I can only do it at last. I hope he will not die before I do!"
We also notice that in childhood, Heathcliff and Catherine work on their revenge together: "...
Even more blatantly obvious than this revenge relationship is that of Catherine and Heathcliff. It begins when Catherine marries Edgar and has not stopped by the end of our assigned reading. Obviously, Heathcliff and Catherine have an extremely intense love: "It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same..." "If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it" says Catherine.
Heathcliff plans and carries out his revenge on Catherine for the rest of the novel. Also, Cathy knows that Heathcliff is trying to exact his revenge on her for marrying another. This fact is forgiven, just as Catherine's betrayal to Heathcliff is, because their's is a love that cannot be denied or altered.
It is obvious that Heathcliff's form of revenge is cruel, especially to the poor, innocent Isabella. But at the same time, we can't help but to commiserate with him because this revenge is born out of the extreme, undeniable love between Heathcliff and Cathy. Even though his methods are hateful, I couldn't help but root for him a bit.