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When Nelly visits the Heights, the young Hareton meets her at the gate and welcomes her with a string of curses. She learns that Heathcliff has taught him to curse and to despise Hindley, his father. Heathcliff is also responsible for Hareton's lessons with the curate coming to an end. Obviously, he is doing to Hareton what Hindley did to him. When Heathcliff appears, Nelly runs away.
By chance, Nelly observes Heathcliff embracing Isabella on his next visit to the Grange and overhears Catherine arguing with him about his feelings for the girl. Nelly searches for Edgar and reports everything to him, resulting in an ugly confrontation between the two men. Edgar threatens to call his servants to throw the unwelcome guest out. Catherine, however, stands up for Heathcliff. His wife's support of his enemy greatly angers Edgar, who strikes Heathcliff in a rage. In a similar fit of fury, Heathcliff vows to get revenge on Edgar. He is now out to destroy both the Lintons and the Earnshaws.
Edgar demands that Catherine tell him whether she intends to continue her intimacy with Heathcliff. She is furious at the question and asks to be left alone. For two days, she locks herself in a room and refuses to take food. Edgar, thinking that she is merely making a scene, leaves her alone. Edgar also warns Isabella against continuing her relationship with Heathcliff.
This chapter is very emotional, filled with pity, fear, and tension. Heathcliff imposes his presence on Wuthering Heights and begins to get his revenge on Hindley. He teaches Hareton to curse and hate his father. He also causes discord at Thrushcross Grange. He quarrels with Cathy about Isabella, fights with Edgar, and causes Cathy's mental agitation. During the chapter, he tells Cathy that he will someday murder her husband.
Despite the fact that he has no love for Isabella, Heathcliff outwardly pretends he cares for her. He sees the girl's infatuation for him as an opportunity to gain possession of the Linton property. She is a means for him to get revenge on Edgar for stealing Cathy away from him. He is also eating away at Hindley's fortune, playing cards with the drunken man and winning large sums of money from him. Hindley has even pledged Wuthering Heights to Heathcliff as security.
It is obvious that Heathcliff's influence over Catherine is still very great. She is very jealous of Isabella's infatuation for the man she has loved for years; she is even more upset to see Heathcliff return Isabella's affections. Her quarrel with her husband concerning Heathcliff results in her passionate fit at the end of the chapter and her seclusion in her chamber. Her behavior again shows her frail mental state and foreshadows her future illness and death. In the meantime, she seems determined to break the hearts of both Edgar and Heathcliff.