Wide Sargasso Sea

A Defense of Rochester in Wide Sargasso Sea College

Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea comes to a tragic end where the protagonist, Antoinette, is left as a mad woman in an attic. Rochester asks “Have all beautiful things sad destinies?”(Rhys 51). It is clear that Antoinette is a beautiful thing with a sad destiny, and that Rochester cannot do anything to control it. The circumstances of the situation and each of their backgrounds is what causes their tragedy. Rochester is not a tyrant who ruthlessly seeks out to destroy her, but a victim with his own dilemmas who tries to make his way in the world. Rochester is often seen as untrusting and selfish, but he is justified in many ways. He is hopeful in his situation, he tries to live up to the English standard, and he is given no other option but to attempt to love a madwoman.

Although Rochester speaks to Christophine and calls Jamaica an “abominable place”, that is because Jamaica is a reflection of the demented mind of Antoinette. She appears normal to begin with, but as she progresses further into a state of insanity, Jamaica becomes more menacing. When Rochester and Antoinette first arrive to their honeymoon house, Rochester smiles at a little boy and the boy begins to cry. The town is called “massacre” which already has a...

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