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Characters / Jane Eyre

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Characters of the novel Jane Eyre. Beware, reader, here there be major spoilers.

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Main Characters

    Jane Eyre 
The heroine and narrator of the novel. Jane is a young woman, looking back on her life as an orphan and a governess.
  • Bookworm: Jane reads a lot. Even in her very first scene, she seeks refuge in the library with a book.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: She gets to call her aunt out at least once for mistreating her.
  • Companion Cube: She used to have a doll when she was young. She put in beside on her bed during sleep and sometimes talk to it when she is lonely.
  • Deadpan Snarker: "I had green eyes, reader, but for him, they were newly dyed, I suppose."
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Twice: Once when she calls the old aunt out, and asks her Aunt Sarah if she thinks she could live without any kindness or sympathy. The other time is when she gets provoked by Mr. Rochester into the "our spirits are equal, yadda yadda" speech.
  • Disowned Parent: After Jane's aunt unfairly punished Jane and locked her in a room that Jane was terrified of, the 10-year-old Jane vowed to never call her "Aunt" again. Since the aunt was Jane's legal guardian, this counts.
  • Hidden Depths: A pioneering example in fiction. This was a comparatively early example of a novel written in the first person that gave the reader insight into the thoughts and inner-life of a fictional character rather than largely using them as a narrator to events. As such, the reader was able to discover that underneath the surface of a seemingly plain, reserved, inexpressive and dowdy governess beat a fiery, passionate heart, a keen intelligence and a steel-strong will.
  • I Can Change My Beloved: Jane is neither unaware of nor willing to tolerate Mr. Rochester's faults, although she does think she can change him.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: As a child. She even tells Helen that she'd willingly get kicked by a horse if it would make Helen love her.
  • Loved I Not Honor More: Jane loves Rochester but she will not be his mistress.
  • Mama Bear: Towards Adèle. She doesn't take it well when people mistreat her, but as a governess, she often can't do a lot.
  • Nice Girl: Definitely kind and compassionate, and can't tolerate evil and unkindness.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Both her parents died when she was very little (practically a baby). Her uncle Mr. Reed loved his sister and took her in as his own, but he died soon too, and her aunt hated her like the plague. Her relatives from her father's side exist, but they come into the picture much later in the story. Part of it was Mrs. Reed's doing.
  • Plain Jane: She considers herself very plain although it's hinted that she's more attractive than she gives herself credit for.
  • Plucky Girl: Jane talks back to authority figures, stands up to her domineering love interest, and generally asserts herself.
  • Private Tutor: She has been hired by Rochester to teach his ward, Adèle.
  • Rage-Breaking Point: As she notes herself late in the book, Jane has a tendency to bear up under unkindness and tyranny with silence and submission—right up till the point she explodes.
  • Spirited Young Lady: She's not afraid to talk and she acts quite freely. However, her lowly position as a governess makes her sometimes appear less lively than this archetype character typically does.
  • Tragic Bromance: With Helen Burns. Helen is the first person other than Bessie to ever treat Jane with kindness, even after Jane is publicly humiliated by Mr. Brocklehurst. Helen sort of takes Jane under her wing and Jane idolizes her utterly, but Helen knows she is not long for this world and tries to prepare Jane accordingly.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: She ends up inheriting a large fortune from her paternal uncle, whom she never met in person.
  • The Unfavorite: Her aunt absolutely despised her. The reason was that Jane was a favourite of her late husband who seemed to prefer little Jane over his own children. She also didn't approve of Jane's character who was not a traditionally cute child.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: When she goes back to visit Mrs. Reed, Jane would genuinely like to make peace with her aunt but Mrs. Reed is incapable of admitting herself wrong.

    Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester 
The mysterious owner of Thornfield Hall. Jane's employer and love of her life.
  • Arranged Marriage: His father and the Masons of Jamaica arranged a marriage between young Edward Rochester, a younger son of a rich, well-connected family who would not inherit anything, and Bertha Mason, an heiress of large fortune and beauty. Unfortunately, she turns out to be lecherous, depraved, and mad.
  • The Atoner: Becomes this by the end.
  • Break the Haughty: Very prideful at the beginning, and he ends up partially blind and missing a hand in the end.
  • Byronic Hero: He's dark and troubled, snarky, cynical, and attractive despite his lack of good looks. Society frowns upon his loner's ways, but deep down he's a good person who suffered horribly; though admittedly, some of it was at least partly his doing and his fault.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He snarks a lot at practically everybody. He's so deadpan that he manages to play a role of a gypsy woman, telling fortune to several female characters. Only one of them figures it out. Also a Gentleman Snarker, in class if not manners.
  • Gold Digger: Married Bertha for her money, and also for her renowned beauty. However, it was mostly due to his family's meddling. His father and his elder brother wanted him to be wealthy and genteel. Little did they know what they had got him into.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can sometimes come off as a downright asshole, but he takes good care of his servants, and he is raising a little girl who's most likely not his biological daughter. And despite his proclaimed hatred for Bertha, it is his attempt to save her during the fire that causes him to be crippled.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: His European lovers were all pretty but shallow women. Readers know Céline's backstory as she is simply the only mistress Rochester tells her about because she is Adele's mother. He tells Jane there have been other women, but none of them were what he wanted in a long-term relationship. He later mentions an Italian woman named Giacinta and a German woman named Clara.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He plays many strange tricks on Jane to make her jealous and to keep her from finding out about Bertha.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: He's described as very dark and nearly black. He compares himself to Hephaistos, a Greek god of fire and black-smithery — Jane agrees. He appears intimidating to nearly everybody. It's partly his defense mechanism because he suffered a lot, but it's easy to imagine him as a snarker even at his young age with his family.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Eventually recovers from the fire at Thornfield, which Bertha caused. In particular, his sight returns in one eye. His arm never grows back, though.
  • The Unfavorite: So Rochester claims. He had an older brother, who his father liked more. Certainly, his father did refuse to split the inheritance and give him his fair share.

The Gateshead Household

    Mrs. Sarah Reed 
Jane's unpleasant aunt. Mrs. Reed spoils her own three children but despises her niece Jane Eyre, whom she only keeps in the house because she'd promised her late husband to look after her.
  • Abusive Mom: She abuses little Jane, who is her late husband's niece and is supposed to live in her household. Mrs. Reed hates Jane and hates that her husband made her promise to take care of her.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: With Bertha Mason.
  • Break the Haughty: She is a very proud and haughty rich woman at the beginning of the novel. Her son failed her, however, ruining their family. She's also very uncomfortable being humbled by Jane.
  • Death by Despair: She has a fatal stroke when she receives the news of her son's suicide.
  • Doting Parent: To her own children. They do not thank her for it. Especially John.
  • Gaslighting: Mrs Reed insists to Jane that she is a caring and loving guardian who only punishes Jane for her own sins and misbehaviour, when both know full well that Jane does nothing to deserve her cruel treatment and it is purely an excuse for her spite. She also tells Mr Brocklehurst that Jane is a liar, which is clearly an attempt to preemptively discredit her in the event that she tells anyone the truth of how she was treated at Gateshead.
  • Heel Realization: Zigzagged. She can't quite answer young Jane's fiery recriminations of her and instead sends her away to school. Later in life, she does realize that she did wrong by Jane but can never quite stop hating her.
  • Hypocrite: Insists that she is a caring and dedicated guardian to Jane when she is clearly anything but. She also tells Mr Brocklehurst that Jane is a malicious liar, which is itself a malicious lie.
  • Jerkass: She's mean and nasty to Jane, never showing her a shade of affection, yet she believes herself to be her nice benefactress worthy of praise and admiration.
  • Karmic Death: She never did anything to redeem herself and never regretted the way she treated her poor orphaned niece. She died when her son was dead, her family in debt, and her daughters barely caring for her. A sad fate, but one she truly deserved.
  • Kick the Dog: Concealing Jane's existence from her existing relatives is a particularly nasty act. She also tries to poison the well for Jane when she is sent to Lowood by telling the headmaster that she is a chronic liar, which Jane views as especially spiteful.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Young Jane views her lie to Mr Brocklehurst about Jane herself being a compulsive liar as this; not content with having treated Jane awfully while under her roof, abandoning her promise to raise her as one of her own and on top of that, as we later discover, concealing the existence of living relative from Jane, she then tries to sabotage any chance that Jane might have of finding happiness at school by turning the headmaster against her purely out of spite and to conceal her own cruel and abusive conduct.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Played with. She has moments of conscience and guilt with regards to how she treats Jane, usually after Jane confronts her about it, and realises full well that she is acting far out of the spirit and barely within the letter of her promise to her dying husband that she would treat Jane as her own. However, it is a selfish form of guilt based mainly on her fear that God and the soul of her husband can see the truth of what she does, rather than any guilt towards Jane herself.
  • Parental Substitute: A very, very poor one to Jane. She regarded Jane as her poor relative and not a niece under her care.
  • Rich Bitch: She's a rich gentry woman of good family who married well, and she's very proud of it.
  • Wicked Stepmother: She's Jane's aunt-by-marriage, but it still applies. Jane's an orphan and she's her legal guardian, and she treats her horribly.

    John Reed 
Jane's cousin. Fat and cruel, he takes pleasure in physically abusing Jane as a child and making her life miserable.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: As a child, Jane describes him as deliberately killing pigeons and pea-chicks and setting dogs on sheep as an example of the various nasty things he does which no one punishes him for.
  • Beauty Is Bad: When meeting up with an older Jane, Bessie describes his grown-up self as this. He's tall and handsome, if fat, but still treats everyone like shit.
  • The Bully: He abuses Jane nearly constantly, both physically and verbally.
  • Driven to Suicide: His wild life and immense debts drove him to shoot himself.
  • Fat Bastard: Was always a bastard, but when he's an adult, several characters describe him as fat.
  • The Hedonist: Like Georgiana, he was entirely driven by appetites — as a child, this manifested in bullying and torturing small animals; as an adult, it meant drinking, gambling, and other sundries.
  • Karmic Death: Though the karma is more visited upon his mother than him. Mrs. Reed spoils him as a child and lets him do whatever he wants, and as an adult he drives the family to ruin, takes no responsibility for his actions, and commits suicide, ending the family name with him and ruining all that his mother had lived for.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Make no mistake he's an Ungrateful Bastard who treats his own mom like shit, but knowing that she is no good person as well, few will pity her.
  • Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: Played with. He has unusually large lips despite being otherwise handsome, and his mother blames his inability to successfully court a woman on them. Of course, the real reason is his terrible personality, but she either can't see it or won't admit it.
  • Momma's Boy: His mother loves him and gives him everything he wants, though he treats her like crap.
  • Spoiled Brat: Had Mrs. Reed been a better parent, he might have turned out differently. But his mother never refused his requests, thinking he was a genius and well-behaved.
  • Threw My Bike on the Roof: As a child, he'd go out of his way to destroy Jane's belongings.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Never showed any affection for his doting mother.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Frequently bullied and harassed Jane when they were younger. At one point, he hurls a book at her, knocking her against a doorframe and cutting her head.

    Georgiana Reed 
Jane's other cousin. Spoiled and vain, she prefers to torment Jane with words and by flaunting her much more conventional Victorian-era beauty.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: By Victorian-era standards. She's described as fat and attractive either by Bessie or Jane when they later reunite.
  • Brainless Beauty: Whatever brains she might have, she's never been encouraged to use, so she's a well-dressed airhead. Jane says that as an adult, Georgiana got fat, but Regency people and Victorians saw plumpness as attractive, so this trope still holds.
  • Dumb Blonde: Described as having golden curls, which explains why she's been adored since she was a child — gold hair was seen as practically angelic on young children. Georgiana also has very little smarts and no work ethic at all.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: With Eliza, at least when they're both young adults. She's the pretty sister and she's popular in society because of her beauty. Bessie says they argue a lot when she visits Jane.
  • The Hedonist: Jane observes she likes enjoying herself and resents having to be in mourning because that means no parties and no fun.
  • Spoiled Brat: Her mother indulged her children quite excessively, and it shows. Georgiana is quarrelsome, whiny, and expects others to take care of her.

    Eliza Reed 
Jane's third cousin. The nicest of the three Reed siblings, but still cold and strict.
  • Creature of Habit: Jane observes she sticks to a self-set rigid schedule and that she meticulously plans her days.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: With Georgiana. Bessie says they argued a lot, especially when Georgiana nearly ran off with a Lord. Georgiana is the beautiful sister and Eliza is the serious sister.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Downplayed in how she treats Jane after growing up. They aren't friends, but she does admit they are equals, and when they say their good-byes, she sincerely wishes Jane well.
  • The Spock: Jane thinks she's all sense and no heart.
  • Taking the Veil: As an adult, she ends up converting to Catholicism and ultimately becomes a nun—Eliza joins a convent shortly after her mother dies and eventually becomes the Mother Superior.

    Bessie Lee 
The Reeds' maid.
  • Babies Ever After: The last we hear of her she's Happily Married to Robert and had three children with him.
  • Brutal Honesty: She's able to tell Jane in her face that she's no beauty and that she never was very pretty. She's not unkind, though, and she openly praises Jane for her accomplishments and calls her "quite a lady".
  • Happily Married: She's happily married and has several children when she and Jane reunite after eight years.
  • Hired Help as Family: Bessie is a maid at Gateshead. She's the only person in Jane's early childhood who treats her kindly, but she behaves rather inconsistently to Jane (being affectionate, bringing her little treats, telling her stories or singing her songs, but also smacking her for no particular reason or forgetting her completely), but she's the closest thing Jane has to a mother figure or an ally while she lives with her abusive aunt Mrs. Reed. Jane is fond of Bessie both as a child and an adult, and she's always very happy to be reunited with her.
  • Maid: She works as a maid in Mrs. Reed's house.
  • Only Sane Woman: She's the only reasonable person in Gateshead. It's a pity that she's a servant and that she has no influence.
  • Parental Substitute: She's a much better mother figure for Jane than Mrs. Reed, and Jane always remembered her fondly after leaving the Reeds' home.
  • Team Mom: The nanny at the Reeds' home, and among the few that treated Jane more or less well. Though, ideally, she would have been more actively kind and more affectionate towards Jane.

Lowood School

    Mr. Robert Brocklehurst 
A preacher at Lowood.
  • Epic Fail: The horrendous living conditions he forces upon the girls at Lowood in the name of humility, results in a typhoid fever outbreak that kills half the students.
  • The Fundamentalist: It's unclear exactly how much of his own cant he believes, as his family certainly doesn't practice it to the same extent he forces it on others, but he preaches it loud and clear.
  • Hiding Behind Religion: For every way he can think of to mistreat the girls at his school, he can find something in the Bible to justify it.
  • Holier Than Thou: Shown especially in the scene when he forces a girl to cut her naturally curly hair when his own wife and daughters wear fake curls.
  • Hypocrite: In how he provides for his family, as opposed to how he provides for the girls at Lowood. He preaches water but drinks wine. Bites him in the ass badly later.
  • Jerkass: He's a mean one. He treats the orphaned girls and their teachers like they're worthless. He's evil and stupid, and he doesn't even know it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He is forcibly removed from his position and his reputation permanently ruined after he treats his students so poorly that he causes a typhoid fever outbreak, contributing to many deaths.
  • Lethally Stupid: The terrible conditions he forces upon the girls at Lowood in the name of teaching them humility, results in them nearly freezing and starving. Poor Helen eventually dies of consumptionnote  because of this idiot's rationing.
  • Sinister Minister: As a clergyman of a rich, honourable, and influential family, he has quite a strong position, but he has a sick, twisted mind. For instance, he scares Jane with his idea of hell and horrible religious teachings. The pupils in Lowood nearly freeze and starve because of the poor rationing.

    Maria Temple 
A kind-hearted teacher at Lowood.
  • Cool Big Sis: She becomes one to Jane when Jane grows up and becomes a teacher at Lowood.
  • Cool Teacher: She's very intelligent and treats her girls wonderfully with deeply felt compassion. For example, she invites Jane and Helen for tea and talks to them.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: She's never tinged by the evilness of the school.
  • Names to Trust Immediately: Miss Temple cannot be a bad person, can she?
  • Nice Girl: She's wonderful to Jane and Helen, treating them like her equals (an adult woman to little girls in Regency England, no less) or like an affectionate friend.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The headmistress of a practically Spartan school, Miss Temple is nevertheless kind to the girls and insists that they be given decent food, and enough food at that, despite Mr. Brocklehurst's idea of an adequate budget.
  • A Saint Named Mary: She's named Maria and is the uncorrupted Reasonable Authority Figure in a Boarding School of Horrors (Lowood was one before it was investigated, at least).

    Helen Burns 
Jane's first friend at Lowood.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Helen probably has inattentive type ADD. The list of personal flaws Helen confesses to Jane all match the diagnostic criteria: "I am... slatternly; I seldom put, and never keep, things in order; I am careless; I forget rules; I read when I should learn my lessons; I have no method; and sometimes I say... I cannot bear to be subjected to systematic arrangements." She goes on to describe how, although she does very well in classes that catch her interest, her thoughts "continually rove away" during uninteresting lessons.
  • Bookworm: First introduced reading a book that is too advanced for Jane to enjoy. Helen says later that one of her flaws is that she reads when she should be learning her lessons.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Jane climbs to her bed and they fall asleep together. Helen never wakes up. Jane only remembers that somebody lifted her up and took her away.
  • Genius Slob: Helen is described as a mature and brilliant student, but also as perpetually untidy. At one point Miss Scatcherd beats her for having dirty nails, another time writes the word SLATTERN (slob) on a piece of cardboard and ties it to Helen's head. Helen justifies it all: "I am, as Miss Scatcherd said, slatternly; I seldom put, and never keep, things in order; I am careless; I forget rules; I read when I should learn my lessons; I have no method; and sometimes I say, like you, I cannot bear to be subjected to systematic arrangements." As Helen is based closely on Charlotte's sister Maria, we can guess that all this was true of her as well. Though, because she's sick, some of this might be justified.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Nothing could break her sweet nature, though she had to put up with lots of ugly things.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: It's implied that she was already sick before Jane arrived at the school. Her cough is one of the signs that she's not going to make it.
  • Kill the Cutie: It breaks the readers' hearts to see this lovely girl die.
  • Nice Girl: Of all the other students, she's the nicest one and welcomes Jane pretty quickly.
  • Parental Abandonment: Helen's mother is dead and her father, who is lately married, is never seen even when she's dying.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: She was the sweetest, cutest girl imaginable, and her spirit was noble and dignified (almost scary for a child). Such girls are not made for this evil world. She would suffer too much.note 
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Helen is a staunch believer in this trope. She patiently accepts and forgives all the abuse she recieves at Lowood School and encourages the angry young Jane to do the same. Jane never becomes as self-effacing as Helen was, but she does ultimately take her friend's belief in forgiveness to heart, most noticeably when, as an adult, she forgives her abusive Aunt Reed at the latter's deathbed.
  • When She Smiles:
    Jane: (narrating) What a smile! I remember it now, and I know that it was the effluence of fine intellect, of true courage; it lighted up her marked lineaments, her thin face, her sunken grey eye, like a reflection from the aspect of an angel.

Thornfield Manor

    Mrs. Alice Fairfax 
Edward's housekeeper.
  • Apron Matron: She's a housekeeper at Thornfield and she has mother-like vibes about most characters. She might not be the most perceptive or the brightest woman on Earth, but she is kind and caring.
  • Cool Old Lady: She's an older woman and very kind. She has some kind of motherly affection for Jane and Adèle. Other servants at Thornfield seem a fairly happy lot, so it's clear she treats them fine.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: She's an older woman but treats Jane kindly and is happy to have an equal companion. Jane likes her, though she admits that Mrs. Fairfax seems a tad simpleminded.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Rochester confirms that she doesn't know about his wife in the attic, though she probably has her suspicions.
  • Morality Pet: After Jane runs away, Rochester sends her away to live with relatives but makes sure to do it handsomely, settling her with enough money for the rest of her life.
  • Stepford Smiler: Mrs. Fairfax is always pleasant, despite the implications that she knows, and disapproves, of her master's behavior. Even when she talks to Jane about the marriage proposal, it is in the spirit of a friendly warning and nothing more, despite her alarm.

    Adèle Varens 
A little girl that Edward takes in.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: She's adorable and she knows it, and she likes to use it to her advantage. She likes pretty dresses and pretty flowers.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Mr. Rochester's ward is the daughter of his then mistress, who sent him the baby after he had dismissed her when he learned she was unfaithful to him. She said the child was his; he assures Jane that he has his doubts, and even Jane figures that Adèle probably isn't his daughter (she bears virtually no resemblance to him).
  • Missing Mom: Her mother abandoned her and never cared for her after that, but Adèle thinks she died.
  • Morality Pet: To Rochester. The man has serious issues, but his treatment of Adèle shows him in his best light. He gave her a good home even though she's most likely not his biological daughter. He's somewhat unaffectionate to her, but he's never abusive. All in all, what Rochester does for the little girl is admirable.
  • Parental Abandonment: She believes her mother has died, but Rochester seems to imply that her mother just dumped her and ran off. Her father is not in the picture because Rochester considers her his ward and not an illegitimate daughter.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Jane notes that when they were first introduced that Adèle, who had been somewhat abandoned by her parents/guardian who had used material gifts in place of affection, was rather spoiled and wilful when the first met. However, Jane also makes it clear that the girl was never malicious or mean-spirited, and that after only a few weeks under her influence, Adèle had been rid of her worst habits, or at least had gotten them under greater control.

    Blanche Ingram 
A woman who visits Thornfield and who is expected to be betrothed to Edward Rochester.
  • Alpha Bitch: Of the passive-aggressive sort, minus a girl posse. She's gorgeous and appears to be popular in her social circle. She's mean and belittles almost everyone including Jane, on top of using her status and hierarchy to lord over them.
  • Child Hater: She has no patience for Adèle and is making plans to pack her off to boarding school almost immediately after setting foot in Mr. Rochester's home.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: To Rochester, though not because she really loves him, just for his money.
  • Elegant Classical Musician: She plays the piano remarkably well and she's a good singer. Mrs. Fairfax says she was greatly admired by all. She also mentions that a gentleman accompanied her singing by playing on the piano and that she and Mr. Rochester sang a duet.
  • Gold Digger: She's from a good family, but has virtually no dowry. She wants to marry Mr. Rochester for his money, his big fancy house, and his vast property.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Blanche Ingram is supposed to be extremely beautiful, so her appearance is described in great detail. She's tall and majestic; she has a fine chest, sloping shoulders, and a long, graceful neck; her olive complexion is dark and clear. Her face has noble features and her eyes are large and black and called as brilliant as her jewels. She has gorgeous raven-black hair, thick, long, and shiny, and worn in a beautifully arranged hairdo. She dresses well, too, and is very elegant.
  • Jerkass: She's quite cruel to people, especially to Jane and little Adele. She also stealthily insults one sweet lady of her social standing, abusing her slightly superior knowledge.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Because Blanche is after money and position and because she is extremely rude to Jane, Rochester's callous treatment of Blanche's hopes for marriage at the age of twenty-five are not lingered on long.
  • Old Maid: Even Jane wonders how come Blanche is not married yet at her age. Blanche is in her mid-twenties and she hopes to snatch Mr. Rochester real fast. She's beautiful but unkind, and Mr. Rochester later notes she's a shameless gold-digger.
  • Privileged Rival: She's a romantic rival to Jane as they're both after Mr. Rochester (Jane loves him, while Blanche is in it mainly for the money and status). Jane is a penniless orphaned governess while Blanche is a gentleman's daughter from a good family with many friends. Though it's revealed Blanche has almost no dowry herself.
  • Rich Bitch: She's a beautiful woman who comes from a wealthy and socially prominent family, but aside from the obvious problems of her personality, her lack of luck in marriage (she's currently 25 and still isn't married) implies that she's not terribly popular with the gentlemen and doesn't have any serious suitors or marriage offers to expect. (Another problem is the fact that she herself doesn't have a large dowry.)
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: She has large and black eyes as brilliant as her jewels.

    Grace Poole 
Bertha's nurse.
  • The Caretaker: She's a nurse to the mad Bertha Rochester, though, arguably, she's not really good at this.
  • Lady Drunk: It's implied that she really enjoys her whiskey.
  • Maid: She's a servant hired to work at Thornfield. Mrs. Fairfax describes her as someone brought in to sew and assist Leah the housemaid, but this seems to be a cover for her real job caring for Mrs. Rochester.
  • Plain Jane: Is described as having a 'hard, plain face' and a 'set, square-made figure'.
  • Red Herring: For a long time, Jane believes her to be the "ghost" of Thornfield and leads readers to think so as well.
  • Secret-Keeper: One of two to who Rochester has confided in that he is married. The other is the doctor, Carter.

    Bertha Antonietta Mason (AKA Bertha Rochester) 
Edward's first wife, who had lost her mind.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Her descriptions can be read as implying that she is mixed-race Creole, though they can also be interpreted as the physical manifestation of her mental illness. For what it is worth, her brother is consistently described as pale in complexion.
  • Arranged Marriage: Her family and Mr. Rochester's father arranged the match. His family wanted her great dowry and her family wanted to marry her off. They weren't a great match and it shows.
  • Ax-Crazy: Her madness has violent nature. She bites people and likes setting things on fire. At one point she tried to stab her brother and attacks Mr. Rochester when he enters her room. Finally, she burns down Thornfield and jumps off the roof to her death.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: With Mrs. Reed.
  • But Not Too Black: Or Ambiguously Brown. Some bits and pieces in the story mentions (or, rather, implies) she's Creole-English and has a darker complexion than the rest of the cast.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: Bertha and Blanche look a lot alike, so much so that Rochester even says Bertha was a beauty in the style of Blanche Ingram.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: She was dark-skinned and dark-haired, but when she's in Thornfield, she's creepily pale with a purple face and bloated features. Jane says she looks like a ghost or 'the foul German spectre, the Vampyre.'
  • Evil Counterpart: To Jane Eyre. Both are in many ways outsiders or "Others", both have passionate sexual desires for Rochester, and both seem a little bit eerie or supernatural. But while Jane is sometimes-mild-mannered and plain-faced, Bertha is Ax-Crazy lunatic who tries many times to kill Rochester.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Bertha was quite the drinker when she was younger.
  • It Runs in the Family: Madness runs in the Mason family among women.
  • Jerkass: Rochester implies that she was very mean even before she went insane.
  • Laughing Mad: Her fits of laughing scare the crap out of Jane. At one point, her laughing is described as "demonic".
  • Madwoman in the Attic: The Trope Namer, as the trope was originally named after her. She was also a codifier in that she was locked up in the attic.
  • Pet the Dog: For a lot of the stuff she does at Thornfield, she doesn't hurt Jane while she's unconscious. In fact, the only people who suffer a physical attack are her brother and Mr. Rochester.
  • Pyromaniac: She seems to like fire a lot. She nearly burned Mr. Rochester in his bed once, and she's responsible for the fire revealed at the end of the book.
  • Really Gets Around: Again, according to Rochester, promiscuity was just the first of her problems.
  • Slut-Shaming: When Edward talks about her, he calls her a "fallen woman". This also serves to set up a double standard as Edward's committed infidelity, but his womanizing habits aren't seen as wrong.
  • Unknown Character: In a sense, as most of what we know about her is from what we've seen and from what Edward said. Neither of those things lends much to her as a character.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Much of the reason as to why Edward opted to remarry and kept her hidden is because he really wants nothing to do with her. To be totally fair to him, she is violently insane by the time we meet her and his account suggests that she was not that pleasant as a spouse even before this.
  • Walking Spoiler: The revelation of her existence is the entire reason the second half of the novel exists.

    Richard Mason 
Bertha's brother.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Saves his sister's honour by stopping the wedding of Rochester to Jane, which would have been illegal as Bertha is still alive.
  • Chick Magnet: Rochester's female guests take quite a shine to him.
  • Extreme Doormat: He behaves very submissively to Mr. Rochester. Said gentleman doesn't take it too well, but at least he appreciates that he's capable of feeling.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: It was probably quite a painful wound, but he was ready to give up and die after Bertha attacks him.
  • White Sheep: He has a meek and feeble-minded nature, and Jane finds his appearance off-putting, but he's one of the few members of his family who isn't a lunatic or a 'dumb idiot' as is the case of his younger brother, though Rochester believes he will end up in the same way eventually.

The Rivers Household

    St. John Eyre Rivers 
Jane's paternal cousin.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He's very protective of his sisters Diana and Mary. He's also kind to Jane, although he later gets other ideas...
  • Chaste Hero: It's clear to Jane that St. John has romantic feelings for Rosamond Oliver, but he forces himself to suppress them in favour of his religious duties.
  • Control Freak: He dresses it up as serving the will of God, but deep down he is very much this. He is very exacting and demanding in his teachings of Jane, and she realizes during his proposal that for all his high-minded sentiments he really just wants to control her as he thinks he knows best for her. The fact that her will is stronger than he assumes pricks his ego a bit, and he subsequently acts like a bit of a passive aggressive bully and tries to wear her down into submitting to him.
  • Dying Alone: It's mentioned at the end that he died alone as a missionary in India.
    • Blink and you'll miss it, but he also dies young, at roughly thirty-nine years old. Jane tells Rochester that St. John is twenty-nine, and in the conclusion—where she mentions St. John's impending death—she's been married to Rochester for ten years.
  • Foil: To John Reed, Rochester and Brocklehurst:
    • Like John, he is a male relation of Jane, but where John is a cruel, spoiled and feckless bully who drives himself to ruin through his irresponsibility, St. John is devout, willing to endure hardship, treats Jane well if without warmth, and is willing to sacrifice himself for his beliefs.
    • He is a romantic interest like Rochester, but where Rochester is a man of passion who is genuinely in love with Jane but has a rather cynical and shaky ethical core, St. John is devout and idealistic but also cold and lacking any genuine warmth or passion, and proposes to Jane merely because he thinks the missionary life would be suited for her rather than because he has any real feelings for her.
    • Both Brocklehurst and St. John are deeply religious men and in charge of schools for girls, but where Brocklehurst is a sadistic and insincere hypocrite who cruelly forces those in his charge to endure horrendous deprivations he is unwilling to allow himself or his family to experience, St. John is genuinely devout, willing to experience hardship himself, and runs the school in a responsible way that ensures the welfare and education of those in his charge.
  • The Fundamentalist: St. John is just as hardcore religious as Brocklehurst, only he is entirely sincere about it. He believes he must be a missionary and that to do less is to ignore God's plans for him. He goes so far as to accuse Jane of refusing God by refusing to marry him.
  • Gaslighting: A downplayed example, but his tactic to get Jane to marry him after she rejects his initial proposal is basically this; he makes a point of guilting her, ignoring her, treating her passive-aggressively, showering his sisters with affection while treating her horribly, and delivering pointed sermons about what an awful person someone who would do what she did must be, while piously declaring that he is doing no such thing and has completely forgiven her and that she must be imagining it whenever she confronts him about it. He very nearly breaks her down as well, and she admits that she would have gone to India with him despite her own better judgment had she not experienced a spectral illusion of Rochester calling her name.
  • Good is Not Nice: St. John is utterly dedicated to his faith and has high moral principles but he's also severe and unforgiving, acts coldly even to the members of his own family, and regards love and emotion as ignoble weaknesses. He is quite aware of this, describing himself as "a hard, cold man."
  • Hypocrite: He is not wholly free of this sin; after Jane rejects his proposal he loudly and piously declares that he has completely forgiven her and abandoned any grudge as a good Christian ought to, despite the fact that his every action towards her is drenched in passive aggression and clearly screams that he very much has not.
  • Impoverished Patrician: The Rivers are an ancient family and Marsh End has been their house for over two hundred years. The Rivers siblings' mother was an educated gentlewoman. Their father went bankrupt over a speculation and died. The family has their house but no money or land. St. John became a clergyman, so his position in society is strong thanks to his birth and sacred profession.
  • Long-Lost Relative: He is Jane's previously unknown cousin.
  • The Missionary: His ultimate career choice. He sees it as his noble calling.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: After Jane is forced to use forceful language to refuse his proposal, St. John becomes very cold to her. Jane notes that he had a particular knack for not changing any of his words or outward behavior but managing to suck every bit of warmth from them.
  • Pretty Boy: Jane describes him as a very handsome, tall, fair-haired, and blue-eyed young man. He's compared to the god Apollo from Classical Mythology.
  • Promotion to Parent: His sisters are a little younger and they all take care of each other.
  • Rescue Romance: It's not a romance but St. John is trying to 'rescue' Jane from Rochester's dishonorable wiles. He recognizes that she, like him, is a misfit in pre-Victorian England and believes that his solution - missionary work - will also work for her and keep her safe from temptation. Jane herself realizes that her cousin meant well by her in his manipulative way, hence, her willingness to correspond with him after she's married Rochester and St. John's gone to India.
  • The Spock: Avoids emotional displays, represses amorous desire, and dismisses love as a distraction from God's work. In his proposal to Jane, he all but tells her that their marriage would be "logical".

    Diana and Mary Rivers 
Jane's other two paternal cousins.
  • Cool Big Sis: Both become loving (adoptive) siblings to Jane.
  • Foil: To Georgina and Eliza Reed, Jane's cousins in Gateshead. They are kind and welcoming to Jane where Georgina and Eliza are cruel and inhospitable. Both pairs have a sister who is reserved (Eliza and Mary) and one who is outgoing (Georgina and Diana), but where Georgina is frivolous and superficial Diana is responsible and thoughtful, and where Eliza is cold, self-righteous and wants to lock herself away from the world Mary is warm and caring.
  • Happily Married: They get married to excellent men, and both Diana and Mary love their husbands who in turn love them. Jane thinks they are worthy of the connection, and that's saying a lot because Jane thinks very highly of her cousins.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Their family is noble, but their father lost their property and was not rich enough to give them dowries. They must provide for themselves and work as governesses. They gain nice property when Jane splits her inheritance among them into equal shares because they are cousins and all were related to the wealthy uncle.
  • Long-Lost Relative: They take Jane under their wing, not knowing they are, in fact, her paternal cousins.
  • Nice Girl: They are extremely nice to Jane, a stranger who knocks on their house, half starved to death and ill. They nurse her to health and offer her their home.
  • Private Tutor: Both work as governesses for wealthy families who treat them badly, as is usual.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Diana Rivers is a strong woman and natural leader who is not afraid to joke with her strict brother St. John. Younger Mary is quieter and her disposition is less cheerful than Diana's.
  • Shipper on Deck: They silently support their brother's love for Miss Rosamond Oliver, and they later switch teams and think he should marry Jane.
    • Played with in that they chiefly hope Jane will convince him to settle down and stay in England. When Jane confesses to Diana that St. John wants her to accompany him to India, not as a lover but as an assistant, Diana calls it "Insupportable—unnatural—out of the question!"

    Rosamond Oliver 
St. John's love interest, whom he refuses to marry because she wouldn't be suited to the life of a missionary's wife.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Jane describes her as extremely beautiful with nearly every feature perfect. She's a bit vain but amiable. In fact, one could consider her one of the few characters in the book who plays this trope straight, compared to Blanche Ingram and Georgiana Reed.
  • Daddy's Girl: Her father loves her more than anything.
  • Dogged Nice Girl: To St. John. She regularly drops by the school when it's time for him to teach and is not at all subtle in showing her interest. He is in love with her, but as he views it as a vice to be conquered, she gets nowhere. She eventually gives up on him and marries another man.
  • Foil: To Blanche Ingram. Both are wealthy, attractive young women with their eye on a man who is interested in Jane, but Blanche is a cold, cruel and haughty Gold Digger who only values Rochester for his wealth, whereas Rosalind is kind, sweet and has genuine feelings for St. John. Blanche is condescending and superior to Jane where Rosalind is friendly and genuinely impressed by her skills. Both are treated somewhat callously by the man they pursue, though in the case of Blanche it is somewhat deserved; Rochester does not have any affection for Blanche, is well aware that she is only after his money and uses her as part of Operation: Jealousy towards Jane, and Blanche loses interest in him when she is led to believe he is not as wealthy as she thought. St. John, however, has genuine attraction towards Rosalind but seems to view this as a test from God to lure him away from what he believes is his calling as a missionary, leading him to give her the cold shoulder. Rosalind eventually gives up on him and marries someone who returns her feelings.
  • Spoiled Sweet: She's a spoiled girl who knew nothing but indulgence, but she's never jerkish or proud. She helps to establish a village school for kids, and she's really kind to Jane, a poor teacher with no connections. Rosamond admires Jane's education and accomplishments.

    Mr. John Eyre 
  • Bus Crash: Jane, as well as the readers, never get to meet him. He dies and leaves his fortune to Jane.
  • The Ghost: He's spoken of quite a lot, but he never appears himself.
  • Long-Lost Relative: He's Jane's paternal uncle. He wanted to take care of Jane at one point, but Mrs. Reed lied to him that Jane had died. He only finds out otherwise when Jane writes to him about her impending marriage.
  • Self-Made Man: He's a businessman who represented a wine-selling company. He has made quite a fortune.