What Gothic elements are used in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Several Gothic elements are used in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. In many ways, the novel belongs to the Gothic genre.

The first, and most obvious, is the setting, a remote manor filled with secrets and mysteries. Rochester, the ruggedly handsome hero with a mysterious past, is also a standard element of the Gothic, as is the heroine, an orphan who also has somewhat of a mysterious past and an abusive step-family. Also typical of the Gothic is a mystery that ends up with a rational explanation. Madwomen and bigamy are also themes both of the Gothic novel and its successor, the sensation novel. 

The heroine-in-distress theme is also typical of the Gothic, as is the way Jane keeps her virginity until she can marry Mr. Rochester legally. Another classic Gothic theme is the poor orphan who is revealed as an heiress at the happy conclusion of the novel.