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The character of Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre is a bit of an enigma. He is a classic Byronic hero, displaying many gothic qualities of such characters, such as being dark and moody, having a secret past and prone to bouts of depression and introspection. From the first he is described as having "a dark face, with stern features and a heavy brow" and his physical ugliness is stressed repeatedly throughout the book, perhaps to emphasise the fact that Jane falls in love with him for no superficial reasons. However, despite his physical appearance, he is the first character in the novel to provide Jane with a real home and security.
It is clear that Jane and Rochester are kindred spirits, and both display a certain disregard for the conventions of society of their day. However, given Rochester's past, his involvement with his mistresses, it is clear that he needs to undergo some form of penance or punishment through the fire that destroys his home and also kills his wife. It is telling that Jane only returns to him when she has her own inheritance and therefore the ability to live independently, and also when Rochester is physically dependent on her through his blindness.
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