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How is marriage presented in Jane Eyre?

Marriage is a prominent theme in Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel, Jane Eyre. While there are different types of marriages depicted in the book, including loveless marriages and arranged marriages, the idea of a marriage based on mutual respect and equality is a recurring theme in the novel. This blog post delves into how marriage is presented in Jane Eyre, highlighting the different types of marriages depicted in the novel and their significance.

Marriages of Convenience

The novel features several marriages of convenience that are not based on love or affection. For instance, Mr. Rochester’s intended marriage to Blanche Ingram is more of a business arrangement than a union of love. Blanche is portrayed as a beautiful and wealthy young woman who can bring financial security to Rochester and his estate at Thornfield. Rochester also describes her as being “well-equipped in person and accomplishments” (Chapter 16), which suggests that he values her physical attractiveness and social status more than her character.

Similarly, St. John Rivers proposes to Jane, not because he loves her, but because he believes that she would make a suitable missionary wife in India. He believes that their union would be a “partnership in which each could retain his independence” (Chapter 34), and that their marriage would be a “duty” rather than a matter of the heart. This type of marriage demonstrates the social and economic pressures faced by women in the Victorian era and the lack of agency they had in choosing their own partners.

The Importance of Love in Marriage

Despite the prevalence of marriages of convenience in the novel, Jane Eyre places great emphasis on the idea of love as a necessary component of a successful marriage. The central relationship in the novel, that of Jane and Rochester, is a testament to the transformative power of love. Initially, their relationship begins as one of employer and governess, but it gradually blossoms into one of equals who share a deep emotional bond.

Their love is based on mutual respect, intellectual and emotional compatibility, and a shared sense of independence. They view each other as equals and are willing to make sacrifices for one another. Rochester is willing to abandon his plan to marry Blanche Ingram when he realizes that he loves Jane, and Jane is willing to flee from Thornfield when she discovers that Rochester is already married. Their love is not transactional, nor is it based on superficial qualities like wealth or physical attractiveness.

The Role of Gender in Marriage

Jane Eyre also explores the concept of gender roles in marriage. The novel challenges traditional gender roles by depicting Jane as a strong and independent woman who refuses to submit to the authority of men. She rejects St. John’s proposal because she knows that his vision of marriage would require her to give up her identity and subsume herself entirely to his will. She recognizes that his proposal is not one of partnership but of subjugation.

Similarly, the novel portrays Rochester as a man who values intelligence and independence in a partner rather than just physical beauty. He is drawn to Jane’s intelligence and wit, and he values her as a conversational and intellectual equal.


In conclusion, Jane Eyre presents marriage as a complex institution that can take many different forms. The novel illustrates the damaging effects of marriages of convenience and demonstrates that love, respect, and equality are essential components of a successful marriage. The book also challenges traditional gender roles and offers a vision of marriage that is based on partnership and mutual respect. Ultimately, Jane’s love for Rochester is able to overcome their differences and bring about a new model of marriage, one that is grounded in love, mutual respect, and equality.


What does marriage symbolize in Jane Eyre?

In the novel Jane Eyre, marriage is portrayed as a symbol of inclusion and belonging. Throughout the novel, Jane searches for a sense of belonging and a place in the world, which she ultimately finds in her marriage to Mr. Rochester. Marriage in the novel is also seen as a way to achieve social status and economic security. For Jane, marriage is not just about finding love and companionship; it is about finding a place in society and securing her own future.

However, while marriage is seen as a positive force in the novel, it is also portrayed as a complex and challenging institution. Jane’s marriage to Mr. Rochester is complicated by the social and economic factors that shape their relationship, as well as by Mr. Rochester’s secrets and past relationships. Similarly, the marriage of St. John and Rosamund is marked by the tensions between their different values and desires.

The marriages in the novel represent the complex and often conflicting forces that shape human relationships. They show how personal desires and social norms interact to produce complex and ambiguous outcomes. the novel suggests that marriage can be a source of comfort and security, but it is also a deeply challenging and complex institution that involves sacrifices and compromises.

What might the tearing of the wedding veil symbolize Jane Eyre?

The symbolic significance of the wedding veil is a recurring motif throughout Jane Eyre, and the tearing of the veil plays an important role in the book’s exploration of gender, sexuality, and the role of women in Victorian society. When Bertha Rochester tears Jane’s veil at her wedding, it is a pivotal moment in the novel, marking the rejection of the conventional institution of marriage and challenging the patriarchal assumptions of the society in which Jane lives.

At the heart of the symbolism attached to the wedding veil is the notion of concealment. The veil was traditionally worn to symbolize the bride’s purity and virginity and to protect her from the gaze of men. In this sense, the veil was a physical manifestation of the restrictions placed on women’s bodies and behavior in Victorian society. By tearing Jane’s veil, Bertha is making a bold statement: she refuses to be hidden away and silenced. She is rejecting the role that society has prescribed for her as a docile, obedient woman.

In a broader sense, Bertha’s tearing of the veil can be seen as a revolt against the institution of marriage itself. Marriage, in Jane Eyre, is portrayed as a restrictive and oppressive institution. Women who marry are expected to submit themselves to the will of their husbands, and their own desires and ambitions are often suppressed. Bertha’s tearing of the veil can be read as an act of rebellion against this institution. She is refusing to be constrained by the expectations placed on women in Victorian society.

Finally, the tearing of the veil can be seen as a metaphor for the breakdown of social norms and conventions. By tearing Jane’s veil, Bertha is challenging the established order and asserting her own agency. This theme is central to Jane Eyre, which is a novel that celebrates the individuality and independence of its protagonist. Bertha’s act of rebellion can be seen as an embodiment of this theme, as well as a challenge to the rigid gender roles and social hierarchies of Victorian England.

The tearing of the wedding veil in Jane Eyre has multiple symbolic meanings. It represents both the rejection of social norms and conventions and the challenge to patriarchal assumptions about women’s place in society. It is a powerful symbol of Bertha’s rebellion against the institution of marriage and her assertion of her own agency and independence. the tearing of the veil is a pivotal moment in the novel, marking a shift in Jane’s understanding of herself and her place in the world.

Why does Jane agree to marry Rochester?

Jane Eyre is a novel written by Charlotte Bronte published in 1847. The novel tells the story of a young governess named Jane Eyre and her love story with Mr. Rochester. Throughout the novel, Jane struggles to understand who she is and the world around her. Eventually, she falls in love with Rochester and agrees to marry him, but why?

Jane Eyre is a character who is often isolated and alone. As an orphan, she is not part of any family and is treated poorly by her aunt and cousins. She then goes to Lowood Institution, where she is an outsider because of her lack of family and connections. However, when she meets Mr. Rochester, she finally finds someone to connect with on an emotional level. Their banter and conversations display their compatibility intellectually and emotionally. They both realize their attraction to each other during their conversations and feel something deeply powerful between them.

Despite their feelings for each other, Rochester is initially hesitant about his feelings towards Jane, as he is older than her and of a different social status. However, Jane’s emotional intelligence and authenticity slowly break down Rochester’s defenses, and he begins to see her as an equal. He confides in Jane about his past and feelings, something he has never done with anyone else. He respects and appreciates her intelligence and encourages her to be who she is, rather than molding her into someone she is not.

When Rochester proposes marriage to Jane, she is hesitant at first, as she fears losing her independence and becoming vulnerable to someone else’s desires. However, she eventually agrees to marry him, as she views him as her emotional home. From the start of the novel, Jane struggles to find people she can connect with emotionally. Although she nominally has a home at Gateshead, she describes herself as being a “discord” there, temperamentally alienated from the Reeds. Similarly, when she goes to Lowood Institution, she finds herself isolated and alone. Rochester offers her a safe haven, a place of comfort where she can be her true self. This is exemplified when, later in the novel, Jane returns to Thornfield and is surprised to find that she truly considers it her home.

Jane Eyre agrees to marry Rochester because he offers her something she has never had before: a sense of emotional belonging. He sees her for who she is and encourages her to be that person. Their connection and love are not based on externally imposed class or gender but on mutual respect and affection. They are each other’s emotional rock and provide a sense of security and love that Jane has never experienced before.

What is the importance of marriage in Jane Austen novels?

Marriage is a recurring theme in Jane Austen’s novels and is a central concern for many of her characters. Austen’s novels are set in the 18th and early 19th century in Regency England where social class, wealth, and status were crucial factors in determining one’s prospects in life. In her novels, Austen presents a realistic and often satirical portrayal of the marriage market and demonstrates her belief in the importance of mutual attraction and love in a successful marriage.

In Jane Austen’s mind, mutual attraction is the most important thing of a marriage. One who betrays his or her heart will never own true love. Austen’s heroes and heroines are often depicted as individuals who refuse to settle for a loveless marriage or a union based purely on financial gain. For example, Elizabeth Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice” rejects Mr. Collins’ proposal because she does not love him, despite the fact that he is a suitable match in terms of social status and wealth. Similarly, Emma Woodhouse in “Emma,” initially rejects the idea of marrying Mr. Elton despite her father’s encouragement to do so, as she does not love him and does not see a future with him.

Moreover, Austen seems to suggest that true love is much more cherishing than money and social position. For instance, in “Pride and Prejudice,” Elizabeth Bennet initially dislikes Mr. Darcy due to his aloof and arrogant behavior. However, as she gets to know him better, she realizes that they share similar values and interests and eventually falls in love with him. Despite Mr. Darcy’s wealth and high social status, Elizabeth’s love for him is based on genuine affection and mutual respect.

In addition to presenting her characters’ desires for love and compatibility in marriage, Austen also critiques the societal expectations of Regency England. Throughout her novels, she portrays the consequences of marriages that are based on social and economic benefits rather than on genuine affection and mutual respect. For example, in “Sense and Sensibility,” Marianne Dashwood initially falls in love with John Willoughby due to his good looks and charming personality. However, when she discovers that he is only interested in her for her dowry and social position, she becomes heartbroken and disillusioned. Similarly, in “Emma,” the character of Miss Bates is depicted as a spinster who is reliant on the goodwill of her social superiors for assistance, due to her lack of wealth and connections.

The importance of marriage in Jane Austen’s novels lies in its emphasis on mutual attraction and love, which is demonstrated through her portrayal of complex and realistic characters who seek genuine affection over social and financial benefits. Austen’s work not only critiques the societal expectations of Regency England but also offers timeless insights into what makes a successful and fulfilling marriage.

What is the purpose of marriage according to Milton?

John Milton, a renowned English poet, philosopher, and civil servant, is known for his extensive writings on various subjects, including marriage. According to Milton, the purpose of marriage goes beyond mere social convention or legal requirements. In his view, marriage is a covenant that is based on genuine love and mutual understanding between partners.

For Milton, marriage is not only a contract or obligation between two individuals, but a sacred bond that is rooted in spiritual and emotional connection. He believed that a successful marriage requires unfeigned love and peace between partners. In his treatise, “The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce,” Milton argued that the very essence of marriage is not in a forced cohabitation or the performance of duties, but in the sincere affection that arises between two people who genuinely care for each other.

Milton proposed that a genuine and loving bond between partners is the foundation of a truly fulfilling marriage. He also emphasized the importance of mutual respect, communication, and compromise in fostering a strong relationship. Milton believed that the common goals and interests shared between partners provide a necessary framework for the longevity of a healthy and happy marriage.

In discussing the purpose of marriage, Milton also touched on the significance of procreation. He believed that the primary responsibility of a married couple was to raise and nurture healthy and virtuous children. Milton viewed children as a gift from God and believed that procreation was a natural outcome of a loving and fruitful marriage.

According to John Milton, marriage is more than a contract or obligation. Instead, it is a covenant that is based on love, mutual understanding, and shared values between partners. The purpose of marriage is to provide a foundation for a loving and fulfilling relationship that is rooted in mutual respect, communication, and compromise. Additionally, a successful marriage should lead to the procreation and nurturing of healthy and virtuous children.

What view of marriage does the poem represent?

The poem “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” by Adrienne Rich presents a negative view of marriage. Aunt Jennifer is portrayed as a victim of marriage, she is docile, submissive, weak, and overburdened. The poem highlights the idea that marriage can be a source of oppression and that it can take away a woman’s freedom.

Aunt Jennifer is depicted as someone who is struggling to cope with the challenges of marriage. She is working on a piece of embroidery that depicts fierce tigers who are not limited by the constraints of marriage. The image of the tigers is a contrast to Aunt Jennifer’s reality, where she feels trapped and confined by her duties as a wife.

The poem also touches on the theme of gender inequality. The tigers in Aunt Jennifer’s embroidery are depicted as powerful, free, and independent creatures, while Aunt Jennifer herself is portrayed as weak and constrained by her role as a wife. This reinforces the idea that marriage is an institution that keeps women in a subordinate position and limits their freedom.

The poem presents a negative view of marriage. Aunt Jennifer’s story is a reminder that marriage can be an oppressive institution that deprives women of their freedom and limits their potential. The poem calls for a reevaluation of the traditional roles of men and women in marriage and society in general, with the aim of achieving gender equality and empowering women to be free and independent.

What does Jane and Bingley’s marriage represent?

In Pride and Prejudice, the concept of marriage holds a significant importance and it is evident in the relationship between Jane and Bingley. A marriage between Jane and Bingley would not just be a union of love, but would also provide economic benefits. The marriage represents a solution to the financial predicament faced by the Bennet family. The advantage to families of a good match could be considerable as mentioned in the novel.

Jane and Bingley’s marriage symbolizes the merging of two financial powers to create a force that can overcome societal barriers. Bingley is a wealthy young gentleman who is pursuing Jane, who comes from a middle-class family. The Bennet family is finding it difficult to keep up with the social expectations of their society. A marriage between Jane and Bingley would not only elevate the status of the Bennet family but also provide them with the economic stability they desperately need.

It is important to note that in the context of Pride and Prejudice, marriage is more focused on social standing and economic benefit rather than love and companionship. The concept of love comes second to the desire for economic stability as seen in Mrs. Bennet’s desperation for her daughters to find wealthy husbands. However, the relationship between Jane and Bingley is based on true love and mutual respect.

Jane and Bingley’s marriage in Pride and Prejudice represents more than just a union of love. It symbolizes the merging of two financial powers to create a force that can overcome societal barriers and stereotypes. It also highlights the importance of marriage for economic stability during the time period.