Known as one of literature’s most romantic figures, Charolette Bronte’s Mr. Rochester has been viewed favorably in history despite his flaws. Bronte’s Jane Eyre displays him as a controlling, abusive man, and yet it is all forgiven because of his love for Jane Eyre. But, Rochester manipulates Jane into loving him, won’t acknowledge that Adele is his child even after bringing her home, and leads Blanche Ingram on for months. And I haven’t even mentioned his Creole wife with mental health issues, who he locks up in the attic instead of getting her help.
So, here are some quotes from the book to especially highlight how terrible the beloved Mr. Rochester can be.
1. When he admits to leading Ms. Ingram on and disparages Jane at the same time
“Am I a liar in your eyes?’ He asked, passionately. ‘Little skeptic, you shall be convinced. What love have I for Miss Ingram? None, and that you know. What love has she for me? None, as I have taken pains to prove; I caused a rumor to reach her that my fortune was not a third of what was supposed, and after that, I presented myself to see the result; it was coldness both from her and her mother. I would not – I could not – marry Miss Ingram.” -Mr. Rochester
2. The way he speaks about his wife
“To tell me that I had already a wife is empty mockery; you know now that I had but a hideous demon.” -Mr. Rochester
3. He really just goes on about her
“‘That is my wife,’ said he. ‘Such is the sole conjugal embrace I am ever to know—such are the endearments which are to solace my leisure hours! And this is what I wished to have” (laying his hand on my shoulder): “this young girl, who stands so grave and quiet at the mouth of hell, looking collectedly at the gambols of a demon. I wanted her just as a change after that fierce ragout. Wood and Briggs, look at the difference! Compare these clear eyes with the red balls yonder—this face with that mask—this form with that bulk; then judge me, priest of the Gospel and man of the law, and remember, with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged!'”-Mr. Rochester
4. When he dressed up as a roma woman and manipulated everyone that was staying in his home
“She had on a red cloak and a black bonnet: or rather, a broad-brimmed gipsy hat, tied down with a striped handkerchief under the chin…The old crone ‘nichered,’ a laugh under her bonnet and bandage: she then drew out a short black pipe, and lighting it began to smoke. Having indulged a while in this seditive, she raised her bent body, took the pipe from her lips, and while gazing steadily at the fire, sad very deliberately:–‘You are cold; you are sick; and you are silly.'” -Jane Eyre
5. When he tries to guilt jane into staying with him despite her finding out about Rochester’s wife
“Jane my little darling (so I will call you, for so you are), you don’t know what you are talking about; you misjudge me again: it is not because she is mad I hate her. If you were mad, do you think I should hate you?”
“I do indeed, sir.”
“Then you are mistaken, and you know nothing about me, and nothing about the sort of love of which I am capable.” -Mr. Rochester & Jane Eyre