Jane Eyre

Describe Mr. Rochester

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Edward Rochester

The owner of Thornfield Manor and Jane's lover. Mr. Rochester is an interesting twist on the tragic Byronic hero; though not handsome in a strict sense, his great passion and forcefulness make him an extremely appealing and sensual character in Jane's perspective. Mr. Rochester is also a sympathetic character because of the mistakes he has made in his past: deceived by Bertha Mason's external beauty, Mr. Rochester is constantly brooding and rejecting the darkness of his decision. Despite their difference in backgrounds and social status, Mr. Rochester is a kindred spirit to Jane and feels a sort of emotional peace when he is in her presence. Mr. Rochester is also particularly important to Jane because he provides her with the unconditional love and sense of family that she has never experienced before. Although Mr. Rochester is clearly presented as Jane's superior in intellect and worldly knowledge, the revelation of his marriage to the insane Bertha Mason demonstrates that Jane possesses the moral and ethical superiority in the relationship. Jane rejects his marriage proposal after she learns of Bertha, not only because she feels it would flout the law, but perhaps because Bertha's marriage is a cautionary symbol of Victorian marriage: despite Mr. Rochester's best intentions and Jane's equal intellectual standing, he may still end up imprisoning Jane in his own way through matrimony, just as he has imprisoned Bertha. Ironically, when Jane finally does agree to marry Rochester after having gained her independence, the fire Bertha set to Thornfield has blinded him. Thus, he is suddenly dependent on Jane, a fact which nullifies the typical marriage inequalities of the time period and tips the balance in her favor. On a kinder note, Brontë closes the novel with Mr. Rochester's sight regained in one eye: the marriage is restored to equality and Mr. Rochester and Jane can be happy in their union.