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The Reader's Guide to Wuthering Heights

Hindley Earnshaw

Hindley is Catherine's elder brother. He hates Heathcliff from the start because of his father's preference for the latter and treats him badly. When his wife dies, he descends into gambling and drunkenness. Heathcliff gains his revenge by buying Wuthering Heights from him.

Hugh Williams as Hindley Earnshaw
Hugh Williams from the 1939 film
Julian Glover as Hindley Earnshaw
Julian Glover from the 1970 film
John Duttine as Hindley Earnshaw
John Duttine from the 1978 TV drama
Jeremy Northam as Hindley Earnshaw
Jeremy Northam from the 1992 film
Ian Shaw as Hindley Earnshaw
Ian Shaw
from the 1998 TV drama
Burn Gorman as Hindley Earnshaw
Burn Gorman from the 2009  TV drama
Lee Shaw as Hindley
Lee Shaw
from the 2011 film

Vital Data
Parents: Mr and Mrs Earnshaw Siblings: Catherine Earnshaw (sister – nearly 8 years younger)
Date of birth: summer 1757 Place of birth: Wuthering Heights (assumed)
Married: Frances around 1777 Children: Hareton Earnshaw, born June 1778
Date of death: about September 1784 (aged 27) Place of death: Wuthering Heights
Physical description: long hair; similar eyes to Catherine
Notes: Hindley is pronounced with a short "i": "Hinned–lee" with the stress on the first syllable (see Pronunciations). The name "Earnshaw" may have come from a female servant who worked at Law Hill when Emily was there.


(1771, aged 14) The former was a boy of fourteen, but when he drew out what had been a fiddle, crushed to morsels in the great-coat, he blubbered aloud …

(1777, aged 20) He had grown sparer, and lost his colour, and spoke and dressed quite differently …

(1778 onwards, aged 21) He neither wept nor prayed; he cursed and defied: execrated God and man, and gave himself up to reckless dissipation. The servants could not bear his tyrannical and evil conduct long …

(1783, aged 26) [Heathcliff] means to offer liberal payment for permission to lodge at the Heights; and doubtless [Hindley's] covetousness will prompt him to accept the terms: he was always greedy; though what he grasps with one hand he flings away with the other.

(1784, aged 26) … it was opened by a tall, gaunt man, without neckerchief, and otherwise extremely slovenly; his features were lost in masses of shaggy hair that hung on his shoulders; and his eyes, too, were like a ghostly Catherine's with all their beauty annihilated.

(1784, aged 26) Hindley has exactly [Catherine's] eyes.