In this essay I am going to find out who is responsible for the obstruction of Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester’s marriage. My main candidates for the obstruction are: Edward Rochester, Jane Eyre, Bertha Mason (Rochester’s wife), Richard Mason (Bertha’s brother) and St. John Rivers. I am going to look at each person’s involvement in the case, and then come to a conclusion at the end… To start with I am going to focus on Edward Fairfax Rochester. Rochester could be blamed for the obstruction mainly due to the fact that he is married to another women (Bertha).
Throughout the novel up until his and Jane’s wedding, Rochester kept the fact that he had a wife a secret. On the day of his wedding when Mason came into the church and announced Rochester already had a wife, Rochester then felt he had to reveal his wife’s identity. This is shown in the following quote… ‘Mr. Rochester then turned to the spectators: he looked at them with a smile both acrid and desolate. ‘That is my wife,’ said he. ‘ This quote is the part in the novel where Rochester reveals Bertha to Jane. This is also the chapter where everything comes out about Bertha, and due to this, they cancel the wedding and Jane runs away.
Another reasons Rochester is to blame is because he kept Bertha in the attic of his house, and no one knew she was there apart from her keeper Grace Poole. This shows that he took advantage of the trust Jane had for him. Rochester knew Jane trusted him, and used it to his advantage. This is one of the reasons to blame Rochester for the obstruction of the marriage due to the fact that he lied to her, and misused her trust. This may have been to shield Jane in some way, and not upset her, but even though that may have been the case, he still misused her trust in him.
The next person I am going to focus on is Jane Eyre. The main reason Jane is an obstruction to the marriage taking place is that in the novel she runs away. This is just after she has discovered the truth about Bertha. Although this is an irrational action to take, she done is as she felt it was the only thing she could do. Another reason Jane is to blame for the obstruction of the marriage between her and Rochester is that she let what she believed in go. When she was younger she didn’t love or trust anyone. Then when she met Rochester she fell in love with him, and trusted him with all her heart.
In the end she was blinded by love, which later on hurts her more than she has ever been hurt before. This was when she found out that the one person she loved wasn’t who she thought he was anymore. The quote below shows when Jane finds out that due to falling in love with Rochester she has given up what she believed in, and has been blinded by love… ‘Real affection, it seemed, he could not have for me; it had been only fitful passion: that was balked; he would want me no more. I should fear even to cross his path now; my view must be hateful to him. Oh, how blind had been my eyes!
How weak my conduct! ‘ As Rochester lied to Jane about Bertha, she suddenly assumes that he doesn’t really love her, and that all it was, was passion. This clearly isn’t the case, and may be a cause of her running away which is the main reason to blame Jane for the obstruction. That can then lead back to Rochester’s fault for lying in the first place. The problem that Jane came across was that she believed in Rochester too much, and most probably thought that he could not do anything wrong. This is another example of Jane being blinded by love, which causes trouble and heartache.
Jane couldn’t see Rochester’s dishonesty showing yet again, that she was completely blinded by love, even to the extent that she never even thought he could have been living a lie to her, the whole time they knew each other. Another obstruction of the marriage is St. John Rivers. He is an obstruction as he is the person who saves Jane from dying when she runs away, and then later on asks Jane to marry him. Although Jane turns down the offer, it is still an obstruction; by she is not with Rochester at the time, and St. John delays her from going to find him again. Jane turns down the offer of marrying St.
John because she truly doesn’t love him, and feels that love is the basis of the marriage she wants. She shows this by saying… “But my powers-where are they for undertaking? I do not feel them. Nothing speaks or stirs in me while you talk. I am sensible of no light kindling-no life quickening-no voice counselling. Or cheering. Oh, I wish I could make you see how much my mind is at this moment like a ray less dungeon, with one shrinking fear fettered in its depths-the fear of being persuaded by you to attempt what I cannot accomplish’ This quote clearly shows that Jane does not accept St.
John’s proposal, and it also clearly states that she does not love him, and wont marry him, due to the fact she wouldn’t be able to do what is expected of her. Bertha Mason Rochester’s wife is another person which obstructed the marriage. Bertha is the main reason in the whole novel, for the obstruction of Jane and Rochester’s marriage taking place. She is to blame as she is the wife of Rochester, and the reason for the cancellation of the wedding, then also the obstruction afterwards was due to the fact that Rochester was already married. As Bertha and Rochester were still married, him and Jane could not go through with the wedding.
She is simply the main obstruction, as she is just quite plainly there. If Bertha wasn’t in the novel, and her and Rochester never got married, there would have been no reason to not continue with the wedding. This would mean Rochester wouldn’t have had to lie to Jane about having a wife, which then wouldn’t have upset Jane and made her feel the only option she was to run away, and leave Rochester forever. This is shown in the following quote, with Jane saying… ‘I must leave Adele and Thornfield. I must part with you for my whole life: I must begin a new existence among strange faces and strange scenes’ It then goes onto say… Sir, your wife is living; that is a fact acknowledged this morning by yourself. If I lived with you as you desire, I should then by your mistress: to say otherwise is sophistical-is false. ‘
These two quotes show that Jane feel she has to leave as she cant stay with Rochester due to the fact he is already married. Richard Mason is the last person I am going to focus on, on who is to blame for the obstruction of Jane and Rochester’s marriage. Richard is to blame merely due to the fact he came into the church and announced Rochester was married to his sister, just as him and Jane were about to get married. This quote is when this happened… It simply consists in the existence of a previous marriage. Me. Rochester has a wife now living. ‘
This is the quote where everyone in the church found out that Rochester was already married. Although this was a big obstruction as he was the one that literally broke up the wedding, I do not feel in a literal sense he was completely to blame for the obstruction of the marriage. In conclusion I have decided that there are many people to blame for the obstruction of the marriage, all for many different reasons. The main person that was actually the complete obstruction of the marriage was Bertha, as she was already married to Rochester.
Even though this is the case, I feel that she is responsible although she cannot help that fact, simply because Rochester was the one that wanted to get rid of her completely, and get married again, and it wasn’t anything to do with Bertha. Rochester was the obstruction as he kept the marriage to Bertha a secret, and even though he knew it was morally wrong he still wanted to get married again. He was also the person that knew about everything that was going on, and still wanted to continue with the wedding. Jane was an obstruction because she ran away, and left Rochester, which means they couldn’t get married or continue to be together.
Even though they wouldn’t have been able to get married, they could still have waited. Even though in the end they end up getting married, she is also an obstruction for them being together in a part of the novel. Lastly I feel that Richard Mason was to blame, as he was the one that announced in the church about Bertha, and brought it all out into the open. Even though this is a major reason for the obstruction Richard was only doing what was morally right. So in conclusion I feel that all these people are to blame somehow for the obstruction of the marriage between Jane and Rochester, but they are all to blame for different reasons.