Is Jane's marriage with Rochester a happy ending in Jane Eyre? If not, why?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jane Eyre's marriage to Edward Rochester at the end of Charlotte Bronte's novel, Jane Eyre, is a romantic one, certainly.  For, earlier in the novel, Jane has so happily accepted Mr. Rochester's proposal of marriage only to learn that he is already married.  Refusing to compromise her principles, Jane leaves Mr. Rochester despite his pleas:

"Jane, do you mean to go one way in the world, and to let me go another?"

"I do."

"....Oh, Jane!  This is bitter. This--this is wicked.  It would not be wicked to love me."

"It would to obey you."

After Edward Rochester's rebirth by fire, however, in which he is blinded only to really see, Jane returns to Thornfield to love and cherish the man who now has paid for his sins.  For Jane, the ending is, indeed, happy since she can love Mr. Rochester without compromising her principles.  In addition, Jane's marriage to Mr. Rochester seems a reward for her earlier denials of his proposal as well as that of St. John Rivers.