Even though the novel is a great (if twisted) romance, Brontë doesn't follow the strict guidelines of the genre: the revenge plot is just as powerful—if not more so—than the love that pulls Catherine and Heathcliff together. Without revenge as such a predominant theme, Wuthering Heights would just be another thwarted love story.
When Heathcliff can't have the woman he loves, he turns his attention to getting revenge on his childhood tormenter, Hindley. The fact that Hindley already drinks like a fish and gambles to excess makes Heathcliff's vengeance all the easier.
Questions About Revenge
How do the revenge plot and the romance plot intersect? How do they add to or distract from one another?
Why does Heathcliff spend more time on revenge than on trying to win Catherine back?
To what degree do any of the other characters recognize or acknowledge that Heathcliff is plotting revenge against them?
Chew on This
Though Heathcliff is driven by a desire for vengeance, he is certainly not the only character who spends energy on it.