Edward Rochester

Outer characterization

Edward Fairfax Rochester is the thirty-five-year-old Byronic hero of the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Rochester comes from a wealthy family and lives at Thornfield Hall, which he inherited after his older brother Rowland’s death. Rochester married Bertha Mason, a marriage which was arranged by Rochester and Bertha’s families in order to build their wealth. After Bertha’s death in the fire that destroys Thornfield, Rochester marries Jane Eyre, and they move to Ferndean Manor. 

Rochester is a man of average height and not particularly handsome. Jane describes him as having “a dark face, with stern features and a heavy brow” (Chapter 12, 54%) and:

broad and jetty eyebrows; his square forehead, made squarer by the horizontal sweep of his black hair (…) decisive nose, more remarkable for character than beauty; his full nostrils, denoting, I thought, choler; his grim mouth, chin, and jaw –yes, all three were grim, and no mistake. (…) a good figure in the athletic sense of the term – broad chested and thin flanked, though neither tall nor graceful. (Chapter 13, 21%)

Despite Rochester not being otherwise handsome, Jane highlights the beauty and expressiveness of his eyes: “he had great, dark eyes, and very fine eyes, too: not without a certain change in their depths sometimes” (Chapter 14, 19%).

Inner characterization

Rochester is tormented and bitter about his past mistakes

As a naïve young man, Rochester lets himself be influenced by Bertha’s beauty and by his father’s greedy business decisions. Therefore, he marries Bertha, believing he is in love with her even though he does not truly know her. He finds himself trapped in a marriage he does not want, which he comes to regret his whole life. The despair caused by this initially leads him to wi...

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