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Jane Eyre- Analysis of the character 'Bertha Mason' and her importance in the novel 'Jane Eyre'

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Introduction

Analysis of the character 'Bertha Mason' and her importance in the novel 'Jane Eyre' Bertha Mason is quite possibly the biggest antagonist in 'Jane Eyre'. Although Master Reed and Mrs Reed are emotionally and physically cruel to Jane, Bertha potentially does the most amount of damage to her, intentionally or indirectly. The scene in which Bertha is revealed is arguably the most important scene in the novel. Occasionally referred to as the 'madwoman in the attic', she is not only a huge part in Jane Eyre but a massive part of literature as well. Although Bertha only appears a few times in the novel, Charlotte Bronte has managed to invent a character that essentially creates the stories conclusion and all the unfolding drama surrounding it. Bertha is an unknown character throughout the beginning of the novel, yet even when Jane and the reader are finally introduced to her, we still know very little about her. ...read more.

Middle

She remains a mystery throughout the novel and although her acts are most likely to be construed as malicious, it is possible, especially when she jumps out of the window, to feel sorry for this disturbed woman who is finally free of her physical imprisonment in her room, and her mental imprisonment that her illness has caused. 'Jane Eyre' is hard to categorize into a genre. It has been said that it is a strange hybrid of three genres: the Gothic novel; the romance novel; and the Bildungsroman. If it were not for Bertha Mason, it is possible that one of these genres would not be applied to 'Jane Eyre' at all. Bertha symbolizes all things Gothic in the story. She creates the tension that comes with the knowledge that something is going on at Thornfield Hall that is not quite right. This secret builds a crescendo that the reader greatly anpticipates as the plot develops. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bertha lets out all of Jane's anguish and worries. For example, Jane worries about marrying Mr Rochester for fear of becoming trapped and imprisoned. However she does nothing to express this worry, yet Bertha then rips up Jane's veil. Perhaps it was an act of defiance against the principle of marriage which Jane is so fearful of herself. Jane, after the failed wedding, later realizes she needs to leave Thornfield as it has become a place of woe and entrapment for her now. Bertha later burns down Thornfield. Jane deals with her feelings sensibly and quietly, it could be said that Bertha then deals with Jane's feelings in the angry, fiery way that Jane represses. Bertha signified a lot of issues that were around at the time the story was published. Strangely, readers may end up relating, or at least feeling sorry for her. She contributes a lot to the story and the plot of 'Jane Eyre' would be significantly different if it were not for Bertha. She gives the novel danger and drama along with tension and secrets. She also, indirectly gives us the happy ending we crave. ...read more.

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