Moral Dilemmas in Jane Eyre

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Conscience is the human ability to distinguish right from wrong. In Jane Eyre, the characters demonstrate many struggles with their own consciences and their moral values. Although some characters succumb to their temptations in the novel, others like Jane are able to stay true to their inner selves and learn from their mistakes. One’s moral values and inner truth are the things that one must strive to find, and to maintain. It is important that once one finds them, one upholds his or her commitment to them, as a guide throughout life. One of Jane Eyre’s central topics is the conflict between Man and morals. Since Saint John, Rochester and Jane are the most important characters in the novel, they are naturally the focal points for the most in-depth analyses. All of them deal with moral dilemmas, in which decisions have to be made and the outcome having a serious influence on their lives. Sometimes, they make choices not only for themselves, but to comply with the will of a greater power. One person who truly stood by his ideals and strived to please God is Saint John Rivers. When analyzing Saint John, one can determine that he is at one end of the human spectrum of humanity. Just like his name indicates, he is like a saint, wanting to be a missionary who commits himself entirely to his quest. His belief is that by starving the flesh, one will be rewarded in heaven. This belief is shared by Helen Burns, another saint-like figure in the novel. The reasoning behind his choices are moral and in obedience to God. He is very devoted to his religious life and this can be clearly seen when he states this devotion to a superior cause by stating “I am the servant of an infallible Master. I am not going out under human guidance, subject to the defective laws and erring control of my feeble fellow-worms: my king, my lawgiver, my captain, is the All-perfect. “ (Page 404) St. John can be seen by people to be very selfish for wanting to marry Jane solely for his own cause and...
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