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Jane Eyre - Is Rochestera character we can admire?

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Introduction

Is Rochester a character we can admire? Edward Fairfax Rochester is a typical example of the Byronic hero. He is a passionate man, often guided by his senses rather than by his rational mind, which leads him to decisions and actions that can not always be considered admirable. The first meeting between Rochester and Jane takes place in Hay Lane. Rochester is immediately quite arrogant, as he can tell from her appearance that she is of an inferior class. At times Rochester shows himself to be dismissive of the lower classes. By his own admission, his tone is one of command and he is "used to say, "Do this," and it is done." He also claims that he "cannot alter my customary habits for one new inmate", referring to Jane. However, in the next chapter he says to Jane, "I don't wish to treat you like an inferior" claiming superiority only from the difference in age and experience. Rochester's superior tone is not one we can admire and the way he looks down on those of lower classes illustrates how conceited he can be. ...read more.

Middle

He found her "a fine woman, in the style of Blanche Ingram: tall, dark and majestic", all the qualities which "dazzled and stimulated" his senses. Despite the fact that Rochester is often ruled by his senses, and makes rash decisions, where things go wrong he tries his best to remedy the situation. In an effort to make up for Ad�le's losses he accepts responsibility for her, and takes her to England with him in the hope that she will have better life under his care than might otherwise have been the case. In Bertha Mason's case, he personally looks after his first wife and hires a private carer for her, rather than admitting her to a hospital. Rochester's goal is self-transformation, an enactment through his relationships with other women. He says, however, that he has given up his shameful lifestyle, and is ready to begin a new, purer life. Rochester tells Jane he is rearing Ad�le in order to expiate the sins of his youth. This is quite admirable, as he is willing to give up his lively past in exchange for the freshness and freedom he believes Jane can bring him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although he was working towards self-transformation, his means were quite immoral until he began to know and love Jane. Their relationship encouraged him to become a new man. Throughout the novel Rochester is in a state of transformation and the reader can see the change from the rude and obnoxious man he was when Jane bumped into him on Hay Lane, to the loving husband he has become at the end of the novel. His attempts at bigamy and other immoral acts can all be forgiven as they are in an effort to keep Jane with him, and pursue a relationship with his soul mate. This combined with his change throughout the novel, and other instances such as his attempt to save Bertha from the fire she started at Thornfield in an effort to kill him, show the reader how admirable he is. Perhaps not insignificantly he is blinded and loses a hand when Bertha sets fir to Thornfield; symbolically his excessive passion has exploded leaving him disabled. Rochester has passed "through the shadow of the valley of death" to become the perfect mate, having paid for his sins, he is now a suitably docile husband for Jane, who morally guides him and corrects him at the novels end. ...read more.

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