Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre: Character Analysis & Concept

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  • 0:05 About the Novel and Author
  • 2:10 Mr. Rochester: Byronic Hero
  • 5:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Michelle Herrin

Michelle has taught high school and college English and has master's degrees in eduation and liberal studies.

In this lesson, we'll briefly discuss the novel ''Jane Eyre'' and analyze the character of Mr. Rochester. Our focus will be on his character traits and his importance to the plot and themes of Charlotte Bronte's novel.

About the Novel and Author

Jane Eyre is a novel written by English novelist Charlotte Bronte. It was first published on October 16, 1847, under the pen name Currer Bell. Jane Eyre is considered to be a bildungsroman (coming of age story), and it focuses on the childhood, education, and young womanhood of the title character, Jane Eyre.

Jane's story begins at the home of her aunt and uncle, where, after her parents' deaths, she is emotionally and physically abused. Jane is then sent to school at Lowood, a school poorly run by the cruel and overly religious Mr. Brocklehurst.

After leaving school, Jane takes a governess position at Thornfield Hall, owned by Mr. Rochester. Jane forms close relationships with her student, Adele Varens, and the housekeeper, Mrs. Fairfax. Jane and Mr. Rochester have a complicated relationship but eventually fall in love and get engaged. It is then revealed that Mr. Rochester is already married. His insane wife, in fact, lives in the attic at Thornfield Hall.

Jane refuses to become Mr. Rochester's mistress and leaves Thornfield Hall. She stays with the Rivers family for a while, and she discovers that she has received an inheritance from an uncle she never knew. After rejecting a proposal of marriage from the religious St. John Rivers, she returns to Thornfield Hall, only to discover the house has been destroyed by a fire. She learns that Mr. Rochester's wife killed herself and set the house on fire and that he was blinded and maimed in the fire after trying to save his wife. Jane and Mr. Rochester reunite, and he eventually regains his sight and is able to see their first-born son.

Jane Eyre is a very famous and popular novel, and it delves into many social issues, including religion, sexuality, feminism, morality, and family. Mr. Rochester's character is at the core of many of these themes!

Mr. Rochester: Byronic Hero

Mr. Rochester is a famous and somewhat controversial character. Let's discuss why he is important and controversial!

Mr. Rochester is a wealthy man with a large home, Thornfield Hall. He is often angry, lustful (Adele Varens is very likely his illegitimate daughter), and emotional. Mr. Rochester is what we call a Byronic hero. The Byronic hero is a type of literary character named after poet Lord Byron, part of the Romantic movement in literature, a movement in the 1800s that focused on nature and intense feelings. The Byronic hero is usually dark and moody, sexually intense, mysterious, emotional, troubled, and arrogant. Mr. Rochester is all of these things. In fact, his passions are only controlled after the fire nearly kills him.

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