Jane Eyre Important Characters

Jane Eyre

     Jane is the central character of the novel. She narrates the story about her life starting from the childhood, gradually leading to the present time. The story follows her development from an unruly child to intelligent young woman. Her character is created to defy Victorian imposed social conventions that oppress and belittle women. Jane speaks in the name of all women in the 19th century who were condemned to passive lives of obedient housewives. Her intelligence, independency and determination lead her straight to her happiness. She knows what she wants and she fights for it, disregarding the conventions. Jane has more moral than any other socially acceptable character in the novel, since she has a pure heart and a real faith in God, unlike boastful ladies and gentlemen with social status and horrible hidden secrets.

Edward Rochester

     If it wasn't for his sinful past, Edward Rochester would be Jane's perfect match, since he is another character who defies hypocritical society. Although it seems that these two characters are quite different, they are both in pursue of true virtues. Rochester is not a handsome man, but his masculinity compensates for it. He is intelligent and witty, capable of all kinds of pranks that serve to entertain, or mock, or even show affection. Unlike Jane, who is introvert and modest, Rochester leads an active, busy life. He is surrounded by people from high rank, and although they appreciate him, he actually consider them fools.

Mrs. Reed

     Mrs. Reed is Jane's aunt, the first on the list of villains in Jane Eyre. She disobeyed the last wish of her husband to raise Jane as her own child, invoking a curse upon her own family. She hates Jane so much that she allows her children to molest her. As if it was not enough, she sends Jane to Lowood just to get rid of her, and tries to stand on the way of Jane's happiness. Eventually, Mrs. Reed ends her life the way she deserved- with the burden of guilt, watching her own family fall apart.

Bertha Mason

     Represented as a monster, Bertha Mason is the most Gothic and most frightening character in the book, standing side by side with Jane Eyre when it comes to their importance in the novel. Bertha represents womanhood of the 19th century, implying that women were imprisoned in their houses and owned by their men. They were ghostly figures deprived of free will. Also, Berta is the victim of repressed feelings, she is everything that society cannot handle and therefore she is hidden so that she does not spoil the picture of functional and happy society.

St. John Rivers

     He is Rochester's rival, although they do not meet nor they have any kind of contact throughout the novel. The only thing they have in common is that they both want Jane for a wife. Also, St. John is Rochester's antithesis. He is handsome, blond, quiet and moral person. However, he is cold, almost heartless, which makes him unattractive to Jane. Although he is a priest, St. John has not gain the spiritual peace, making his religiousness treacherous.

Mary and Diana Rivers

     They are St. John's sisters and Jane's cousins. It is obvious that John, Mary and Diana are contrastive to John, Georgiana and Eliza. The Reeds tried to ruin Jane's life, while the Rivers saved it. Mary and Diana are kind, intelligent and independent women who serve as a model to Jane.

Mr. Brocklehurst

     The founder of Lowood who presents himself as a genuine benefactor and true Christian is actually an embodiment of religious and social hypocrisy. While girls in Lowood are deprived of the life essentials- water, food and warm accommodation, all in the name of God, Mr. Brocklehurst has a fancy lifestyle and dresses his wife and children in fur and silk.

Helen Burns

     Helen is Jane's friend from Lowood. She is a representative of all other orphan girls who willingly accept the imposed rules. Helen blindly obeys each punishment or command from superiors, not questioning their rightness. She truly believes that the religion preached at Lowood is genuine Christianity that will lead her to God. Little does she knows about the evil and hypocrisy in this world.

John Reed

     John is Jane's cousin whose mission is, or so it seems, to make Jane's days in Gateshead bitter. Influenced by his mother, her grows up spoiled and sly, imbued with hatred toward Jane, believing that his wealth makes him superior. Nevertheless, he does not know how to take the advantage of his "superiority" and his faulty lifestyle sends him to grave too soon.

Eliza and Georgiana Reed

     John's sisters are somewhat less mean to Jane, but still malicious. They are also taught by their mother, Mrs. Reed, that Jane is much lower in rank, so they treat her like she is worthless. However, a bad blood between them separates these sisters forever.

Miss Temple

     A personification of her last name, Miss Temple is the only kind teacher in Lowood, full of love and understanding for girls. She is kind and generous, committed to her job, a bright spot in Lowood.

Miss Blanche Ingram

     Beautiful and young, high in rank and wealthy, Blanche is not just socially accepted, but desirable in men's company. However, Blanche is shallow as a person and the gold-digger who does not seek, nor appreciate true virtues. Her only mission is to get married to a rich men who can provide her luxurious lifestyle.

Adèle Varens

     Adèle Rochester's putative father and Jane's pupil at Thornfield Hall. Jane is very fond of this girl, whose destiny remind her of her own childhood, therefore, she fights for Adèle's wellbeing. Unlike Jane, Adèle is vivacious.

Mrs. Fairfax

     Mrs. Fairfax is kind old lady who takes care of Thornfield. She is the one who hired Jane as a governess to Adèle. Mrs. Fairfax is first one to warn Jane about her future marriage to Rochester.

Grace Pool

     Although not very active character in the novel, her name is often mentioned. Grace is the servant who takes care of Bertha. In order to keep the secret safe from the Jane and guests of Thornfield Hall, every excess that Bertha commits is attributed to Grace's deeds.

Related Links:

Jane Eyre Quotes
Jane Eyre Chapters 1-4 Summary
Jane Eyre Chapters 5-8 Summary
Jane Eyre Summary
Jane Eyre Quiz
Jane Eyre Chapters 1-4 Quiz
Jane Eyre Chapters 5-8 Quiz
Jane Eyre Chapters 9-12 Quiz
Jane Eyre Chapters 13-16 Quiz
Jane Eyre Chapters 17-20 Quiz
Jane Eyre Chapters 21-24 Quiz
Jane Eyre Chapters 25-28 Quiz
Jane Eyre Chapters 29-32 Quiz
Jane Eyre Chapters 33-36 Quiz
Jane Eyre Chapters 37-38 Quiz
Jane Eyre Chapters 9-12 Summary
Jane Eyre Chapters 13-16 Summary
Jane Eyre Chapters 17-20 Summary
Jane Eyre Chapters 21-24 Summary
Jane Eyre Chapters 25-28 Summary
Jane Eyre Chapters 29-32 Summary
Jane Eyre Chapters 33-36 Summary
Jane Eyre Chapters 37-38 Summary
Literature Summaries

To link to this Jane Eyre Important Characters page, copy the following code to your site: