Contains spoilers from the book ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte…
Edward Fairfax Rochester has been seen by some critics as a melodramatic, even an impossible hero, preposterous and unbelievable. This is explained as the problem for a sheltered female author in describing a male character. On the other hand, Jane, whose story this is, grows to love him. Is this the biggest weakness of the novel…?
I have to agree that Mr Rochester is somewhat of a melodramatic person. After listing Mr Rochester’s characteristics down for myself I can see now why people think he’s quite the preposterous character. He overreacts in a lot of situations and is quite impulsive when it comes to his emotions. Not only this but he seems to have these two sides in the novel, one which is responsible, kind and loving, and the other which is deceitful, cold and quite intimidating. But this is blamed on the fact that Charlotte Bronte was a sheltered author with no real experience of ‘the real world’ or with men in general, but in actual fact, I think she knew exactly what she was doing. Here we have a man who goes on a journey from arrogance to humbleness, who has made great mistakes and has regrets about things he’s said and done, who is human. Charlotte Bronte created this character that is realistic, who has flaws so that the reader can relate to this man. We can feel connected – we are not all perfect and Mr Rochester’s character really reflects that. His contradicting nature and odd ways of dealing with situations is just the result of how his life has played out, how he’s learned from his mistakes. I think this revelation just makes me appreciate and admire Rochester’s character even more and also the talent of Bronte.
I do not think that the story is weak because Jane Eyre fell for this kind of character, but the opposite. I thought that their relationship was a strong one and it made the story strong too. Jane has flaws as well (like we discussed previously), she’s not perfect either but they both understand each other, except each other and love each other for their true selves.
Note: Everything I said here is purely my own opinion. Feel free to share your opinion in the comments, do you agree or disagree with me?
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