Mr. Rochester: A Byronic Hero

How Mr. Rochester, from Jane Eyre is a Byronic Hero.

The qualities of a Byronic hero can easily be applied to Mr. Rochester, an important character in Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte.  A Byronic hero is an idealized but flawed character in a novel.; the purpose of this paper is to show how Mr. Rochester can be classified as a Byronic hero. 

From the moment Jane meets Mr. Rochester, she sees that he is a mysterious person. When they first encounter each other, Jane observes that he has a dark face, stern features, and a heavy brow.  Rochester is not handsome, but he has very distinctive characteristics; he engages Jane with his magnetic personality.  People are attracted to him although he is a social outcast.  When Jane mentions to Mrs. Fairfax that she finds Rochester “changeful and abrupt,” Mrs. Fairfax suggests that his mannerisms are the result of a difficult personal history.  

Rochester hides a very dark secret: the existence of a beautiful, yet mad, wife whom he married for money.  He disregards the law by attempting to marry a second time, exhibiting another Byronic trait.  Although Rochester keeps such a secret, he genuinely falls love with Jane.  In Chapter 23, he says,  “You—poor and obscure, and small and plain as you are—I entreat to accept me as a husband.”  This demonstrates another Byronic trait: complete disregard for social rank.  Rochester, a man of great wealth, eagerly marries the former governess. 

A Byronic character is usually cunning and deceitful.  Rochester wants to find out what Jane thinks of him, but doesn’t want to ask her directly.  One example of this is when 

Mr. Rochester disguises himself as a gypsy and offers to tell the guests’ fortunes.  The gypsy tells Blanche Ingram that Rochester is not as wealthy as he seems.  In doing so, Rochester learns Ingram’s main motive for marriage.  Rochester tells Jane that she is very close to happiness, and reveals his true identity.  Another example of  his trickery is when the pair are walking through the garden and Rochester tells Jane that he plans to marry Blanche Ingram.  He does this to see how Jane reacts before proposing to her. 

Mr. Rochester fits many of the characteristics of a Byronic hero.  By using this technique, Charlotte Bronte creates an extremely interesting and mysterious character who plays an important role in the main character’s life.

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