What character differences are there between Jane Eyre and Bertha Mason in the book Jane Eyre?

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Jane and Bertha and often read as doubles of each other—that is, Bertha is in some ways a prefiguration of what Jane is or will become if she accepts Rochester's illicit proposal.

On the face of it, Jane and Bertha could not be more different. Bertha (we learn from Rochester) is the daughter of a well-to-do Jamaican family; Jane is a poor orphan. Bertha has unnatural sexual appetites, while Jane's sexuality is repressed. Bertha is violently insane, whereas Jane is prim and proper, even repressed. Bertha is a prisoner, while Jane is relatively free. But in many ways, Bertha's insanity is an expression of the anger Jane feels at her own status as unloved poor relation. At Gateshead, we get a glimpse of the anger inside Jane, as she bitterly castigates Mrs Reed. Like Jane, Bertha's insanity stems in part from her mistreatment by her family, who clearly see her as "damaged goods" that they are lucky enough to palm off on Rochester. Jane, however, is lucky enough to be plain and does not merit the kind of male attention that makes Bertha into a sexual commodity. Instead, she works to improve herself, to embrace her own intellectual and emotional independence, and to use this independence to rehabilitate and care for others, in particular Rochester himself.

It's hard to say if Bertha, given similar circumstances, would have turned out differently. Rochester's marriage to Bertha was, according to Rochester, the result of a scheme between his father and Bertha's family. In this account, Rochester is clearly the victim, shackled to a insane woman he never loved or even knew. In marrying Jane, even while his first wife is imprisoned in the attic of his home, Rochester seeks to play on Jane the same sort of trick that was played on him. So perhaps another trait these women share is their victimization by Rochester and their willingness to fight back.

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Jane and Bertha are both women who suffer at the hands of their families: Jane endures abuse at Gateshead, which causes her to experience an episode of apparent madness, and Bertha was pushed into a hasty marriage with a man she barely knew because her father wanted her gone before she began showing signs of the mental insanity that ran in the Mason family.

After Jane's brush with "madness," however, she begins to dedicate herself to self-improvement. At Lowood, Jane "set to work afresh, resolved to pioneer [her] way through every difficulty; [She] toiled hard, and [her] success was proportionate to [her] efforts." Rather than lapse into despair about her plight, Jane seizes control of her life, knowing that she controls her fate and future happiness.

When Bertha's madness strikes, however, it quickly leads her to a constant state of insanity. She becomes an almost feral creature, crawling on her hands and knees, wild and violent and, to use Jane's own adjective, "savage." Bertha succumbs completely to her insanity, behaving erratically and dramatically and becoming, quite literally, the crazy woman in the attic.

So, while Jane commits herself to self-improvement—obedience, piousness, and a firm sense of morality—Bertha spirals away from being a "civilized" woman, descending deeper into the recesses of her own delusions. In many ways, Bertha is a victim of her time, when mental health and its treatment were wildly misunderstood.

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Bertha Mason and Jane Eyre are both women who have experienced intense anger. Jane feels deep rage as a child at her cold and hateful aunt, Mrs. Reed, and at her abusive cousin, John Reed. Like Bertha, she acts out her anger and has a fit of what appeared to be madness after finally snapping and attacking John for his cruel behavior towards her. Like Bertha, she is considered unfit to be a member of the family that housed her.

However, while Bertha is shut away from society on the top floor of Thornfield Hall, Jane is exiled to Lowood School, a repressive charity institution. Unlike the isolated Bertha, Jane's tenure at Lowood allows her to forge friendships, most notably with Helen Burns and Miss Temple. Both of these female role models help teach Jane to moderate her anger.

Therefore, Jane and Bertha differ in that Jane is able to manage and channel her anger in productive, rather than destructive, ways. While Jane tells Mrs. Reed what she thinks of her, she is later able to transcend her rage and succeed in becoming a governess. Jane earns her own keep and lives with integrity, even initially abandoning Mr. Rochester to be true to herself. Through developing her skills and learning self control, Jane is able to break the bonds of anger in a way Bertha never could, along the way earning Rochester's respect and love.

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Bertha Mason, as presented in the book Jane Eyre, is everything Jane is not.  Jane is depicted as being physically plain and slight of build.  She is highly intelligent, and, her tendency to be outspoken notwithstanding, she is a proper Englishwoman, comparatively cultured, fine, and neat in appearance and manner.  Jane is capable, and sensible.  She is a survivor, is passionate, as well as strong in character.  In contrast, Bertha is monstrous, barely human.  Although she shows with her sinister actions that she is capable of some awareness and rational thought, recognizing Jane as as a threat to her position and seeking her demise to prevent that from happening, she cannot speak intelligibly.  Bertha is presented as being exotic and unbridled; she is violent, clearly insane, and exhibits an animal nature.

Despite the clear differences between them, however, it has been suggested by some critics that Bertha's character runs parallel to that of Jane's, with Bertha being a kind of "darker double of her English counterpart.  In support of this theory, it is interesting to note that Bertha lives confined to the attic at Thornfield, just as Jane was earlier locked up in the red room at Gateshead Hall.  Both women are or have been a source of attraction to Edward Rochester, and both are at one point married to him.

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