Jane Eyre


Mr. Rochester

Mr. Rochester—Mr. Rochester is a sympathetic soul whose Byronic adventures have produced no sense of peace or happiness in his soul. He is resolved to find peace, and when he meets Jane, he meets a young woman who represents the kind of virtue he has missed in his younger, wilder roving days. With a desire not only to reform but also to be happy, Mr. Rochester is a conflicted character with dual aims: He at once desires to be good and peaceful and at the same time attempts to rationalize his misconduct by justifying his keeping his marriage to Bertha Mason a secret for the sole reason that he has suffered so much already and now deserves to be happy.

While this is a sentiment similarly expressed by Jane, who has also suffered from loneliness and cruelty, she cannot justify the bigamy that Mr. Rochester proposes. Even though Mr. Rochester is her social superior, Jane proves to be his moral superior. What unites them, however, is an intellectual equality rooted in a sense of humility. It is this humility that ultimately saves Mr. Rochester from despair: He accepts his blindness as a just punishment from God for his attempt to subjugate His law. When Jane finds Rochester again at the end of the novel, he is depressed and unhappy, but his spirit is not dead; it only wants rejuvenation. This Jane brings by marrying him.

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