Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Jane Eyre, a plain child with a vivid imagination, intelligence, and great talent in art and music. Left an orphan in childhood, she is forced to live with her Aunt Reed, who was the sister-in-law of her father. At the Reed home, she is mistreated and spurned, and she is finally sent to a charity home for girls. Her education completed, she teaches at the school for several years and then takes a position as a private governess to the ward of Mr. Rochester. After a strange, tempestuous courtship, she and Mr. Rochester are to be married, but the revelation that his insane first wife still lives prevents the wedding. After each has suffered many hardships, Jane and Mr. Rochester are eventually married.
Edward Fairfax Rochester
Edward Fairfax Rochester, a gentleman of thirty-five, the proud, sardonic, moody master of Thornfield. Before Jane Eyre’s arrival to become a governess in his household, he visits Thornfield only occasionally. After he falls in love with Jane, much of his moroseness disappears. When they are separated because the presence of his insane wife becomes known, Mr. Rochester remains at Thornfield. His wife sets fire to the house, and Mr. Rochester loses his eyesight and the use of an arm during the conflagration, in which his wife dies. Summoned, she believes, by his call, Jane Eyre returns a short time later, and the two are married.
Adele Varens, the illegitimate daughter of Mr. Rochester and a French opera singer, his ward upon her mother’s death. She is pale, small-featured, extremely feminine, and not especially talented.
Mrs. Fairfax, the elderly housekeeper at Thornfield. She is extremely kind to Jane and is delighted that she and Mr. Rochester are to be married.
Grace Poole, a stern woman with a hard, plain face, supposedly a seamstress at Thornfield but actually the keeper of mad Mrs. Rochester. Occasionally, she tipples too much and neglects her post.
Bertha Mason Rochester
Bertha Mason Rochester, Mr. Rochester’s insane wife, kept in secret on an upper floor at Thornfield. She had lied and her family had lied when Mr. Rochester met her in Jamaica while traveling, for she was even then demented. During Jane’s stay at Thornfield, Mrs. Rochester tries to burn her husband in bed. Finally, she burns the whole house and herself, and seriously injures her husband.
Mrs. Reed, an exact, clever, managing woman, the guardian of Jane Eyre. She hates her charge, however, misuses her, and locks her in dark rooms for punishment. At her death, she repents of her actions. Her children turn out badly.
Eliza Reed, her older daughter, a...
(The entire section is 1163 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Jane Eyre Characters. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!