Jane Eyre Characters at a Glance

  • Jane Eyre, imaginative and intelligent, survives a difficult childhood and adolescence before finding joy in her marriage to Rochester.

  • Mrs. Reed is Jane's cruel aunt, who despite the dying wishes of her husband, Jane's blood relative, abuses and neglects Jane.
  • John, Eliza, and Georgiana Reed are Jane's maternal cousins, who in their childhood torment Jane, and later have unsatisfying adult lives.
  • Maria Temple is an early supporter of Jane at Lowood, and Jane's favorite teacher. As Jane grows older their relationship changes from a mentorship/guardianship to friendship.
  • Edward Fairfax Rochester is the moody master of Thornfield who softens after he falls in love with Jane.

  • Adele Varens is Rochester’s illegitimate daughter. Though she is a very feminine and good-looking child, she lacks intellectual talent.

  • Mrs. Fairfax is the housekeeper at Thornfield and a supporter of Jane.

  • Bertha Rochester is Edward Rochester’s insane wife who is locked away on the third floor. She sets fire to the house, burning herself and maiming Edward.

  • St. John Eyre Rivers, the brother of Diane and Mary, is kind, but stern and practical. After discovering that Jane is a family member, he wants her to marry him and go to India to do missionary work.
  • Diane and Mary Rivers find Jane nearly starving on their doorstep after she runs away from Rochester, and take her in, only realizing later that she is their cousin. Both women are very kindhearted and intelligent.

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Jane Eyre

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

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

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

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

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

Eliza Reed, her older daughter, a penurious, serious girl who eventually becomes a nun.

John Reed

John Reed, the son, a wicked child who torments Jane Eyre and then blames her for his own bad deeds. He ends up as a drunk in London and dies in disgrace.

Georgiana Reed

Georgiana Reed, the younger daughter, a pretty, spoiled child who later becomes very fat. She makes a poor marriage.

Bessie Leaven

Bessie Leaven, Mrs. Reed’s governess, pretty, capricious, hasty-tempered. Before Jane Eyre leaves the Reed house, Bessie has become fond of her.

Robert Leaven

Robert Leaven, Bessie’s husband and Mrs. Reed’s coachman.


Abbot, the Reed’s bad-tempered maid.

Mr. Lloyd

Mr. Lloyd, an apothecary called in when Jane Eyre becomes sick and feverish after having been locked in a dark room. He suggests that she be sent off to school.

Mr. Brocklehurst

Mr. Brocklehurst, a strict clergyman and the master of Lowood School. He forces the girls to wear short, uncurled hair and plain wrappers, and he feeds them on a starvation diet.

Maria Temple

Maria Temple, the supervisor of Lowood School, a pretty, kind woman who tries against tremendous odds to make her pupils’ lot as easy and pleasant as possible. She is interested in Jane Eyre’s talents and is responsible for her getting a teaching position later at Lowood.

Miss Smith

Miss Smith,

Miss Scratcherd

Miss Scratcherd, and

Miss Miller

Miss Miller, teachers at Lowood School.

Helen Burns

Helen Burns, a clever thirteen-year-old pupil at Lowood School, constantly ridiculed and punished by her teachers because she is not neat and prompt. She dies during a fever epidemic.

Miss Gryce

Miss Gryce, a fat teacher at Lowood School and Jane Eyre’s roommate when they both teach there.

Mary Ann Wilson

Mary Ann Wilson, one of Jane Eyre’s fellow students, a witty and original girl.


John and


Leah, the house servants at Thornfield Hall.


Sophie, the French maid.

Mrs. Eshton

Mrs. Eshton, a guest at a house party given by Mr. Rochester. Once a handsome woman, she still has a well-preserved style.

Mr. Eshton

Mr. Eshton, her husband, a magistrate of the district.

Amy Eshton

Amy Eshton, their older daughter, rather small, naïve, and childlike in manner.

Louisa Eshton

Louisa Eshton, the younger daughter, a taller and more elegant young woman.

Lady Lynn

Lady Lynn, another woman whose family is invited to the Thornfield house party; she is large, stout, haughty-looking, and richly dressed.

Mrs. Dent

Mrs. Dent, another guest, less showy than the others, with a slight figure and a pale, gentle face.

Colonel Dent

Colonel Dent, her husband, a soldierly gentleman.

The Dowager Lady Ingram

The Dowager Lady Ingram, another guest, a proud, handsome woman with hard, fierce eyes.

Blanche Ingram

Blanche Ingram, her daughter, a young woman with an elegant manner and a loud, satirical laugh, to whom Mr. Rochester is reported engaged.

Mary Ingram

Mary Ingram, her sister.

Henry Lynn

Henry Lynn and

Frederick Lynn

Frederick Lynn, gentlemen at the party, two dashing sparks.

Lord Ingram

Lord Ingram, Blanche’s brother, a tall, handsome young man of listless appearance and manner.

Mr. Mason

Mr. Mason, Mr. Rochester’s brother-in-law. During a visit to see his sister, she wounds him severely. He halts the marriage of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester.

Diana Rivers

Diana Rivers and

Mary Rivers

Mary Rivers, daughters of the family with which Jane Eyre takes refuge after running away from Thornfield. They turn out to be her cousins, their mother having been Jane’s aunt. At first they do not know that Jane is a relative because she calls herself Jane Eliot.

St. John Rivers

St. John Rivers, their brother, a complex religious-minded man who wishes to marry Jane but plans to live with her in platonic fashion while they devote their lives to missionary work in India.


Hannah, the Rivers’ housekeeper, a suspicious but kind woman.

Rosamund Oliver

Rosamund Oliver, a beautiful, kind heiress, the sponsor of the school in which St. John Rivers finds Jane a post. Miss Oliver is coquettish and vain, but she holds real affection for Rivers.

Mr. Oliver

Mr. Oliver, her father, a tall, massive-featured man.

Alice Wood

Alice Wood, an orphan, one of Jane’s pupils in the school where she teaches after leaving Thornfield.