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Study Guide : Jane Eyre: Characters

Jane Eyre has many memorable characters that appear in the novel and interact with the heroine, Jane - influencing her development for better or for worse. In the novel, Jane is the main character.

In Brontë’s novel, we have main, secondary and minor characters. The main character is Jane, due to the nature of a first-person bildungsroman. The secondary and minor characters are really important too, as Brontë highlights certain ideas and issues through them.

Main character

  • Jane Eyre



From the beginning of the novel, Brontë describes Jane as a strong-willed, passionate and outspoken young girl. Jane regularly speaks out against the cruel treatment of her cousin, John and her aunt, Mrs Reed. This results in Jane becoming isolated and alienated in the house, as she endures her punishments alone. When Jane moves to Lowood School, her life appears to be similar, as she has to endure horrible taunts and punishments from Mr Brocklehurst. However, it is at Lowood Jane finds true friendship and love. Here, Jane is very loyal and kind towards Helen Burns, her best friend. When Helen dies, she is heartbroken and lost. read more...

Edward Rochester


Edward Rochester is the master of Thornfield Hall and as a consequence, has a large fortune. Brontë describes Rochester as aloof, intelligent, rugged and witty. The reader first meets him when he falls off his horse, accusing Jane of bewitching it. From the beginning, we get the impression that Rochester is aloof, wild and outspoken. Rochester demands that Jane spends time with him, and they spend their evenings arguing and discussing topical issues. His rugged appearance makes him appear wilder, echoing his personality. Jane begins to fall in love with him. Rochester organises a party, welcoming guests into his house. read more...


Helen Burns

Helen Burns is Jane's only friend at Lowood School. Helen is honest, pious, loyal and compassionate. Helen is continuously victimised by her teachers and regularly takes the punishment without voicing her opinions. This confuses Jane, as she wishes Helen would stand up for herself. However, Helen does not see it like that - she accepts her perceived failings and apologises for them, waiting for the punishment patiently. This attitude is down to Helen's pious nature, as she continuously 'turns the other cheek' and tries to see the world through others' eyes. She loves and cares for Jane. read more

St. John Rivers

St John is protective of his family, religious, cold-hearted and always striving to do the right thing, whether it is personally right for him or not. His cold nature is the complete opposite of the fiery-tempered Rochester.

St John Rivers and his sisters find Jane outside of their home, hungry and feverish. They take her in and nurse her back to health. St John finds Jane a position as schoolmistress at the local village. It is here that Jane witnesses St John's true feelings for Miss Rosamund Oliver, the local wealthy beauty in the village. St John loves Miss Rosamund but, read more...

Character map

Jane Eyre - Characters

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