A discussion of the moral and psychological aspects of Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre”.
Jane Eyre takes the idea of a fairy tale a step further by adding psychological aspects to the story. Jane did the right thing in regards to marrying Mr. Rochester because “what is [considered] morally wrong cannot be psychologically right.” In other words, Jane’s moral values told her what Mr. Rochester had done wrong. Because of this she cannot “psychologically” go along with it as if nothing was wrong. Psyche and morals both are products of the mind. The mind may consider both options, but it ultimately will choose the option which adheres to its moral foundation. Jane’s morals include honesty, justice, and friendship. Her past experiences strongly support this moral foundation. As a child she was constantly accused of being dishonest. Mrs. Reed even informed Mr. Brocklehurst that she was deceitful when she met with him before sending her off to school. She tells him that he should “keep a strict eye on her, and, above all, guard against her worst fault, a tendency to deceit.” This both infuriated and crushed Jane. She through experiences such as these came to hate the idea of deceit along with anyone who practiced it. In addition, Jane never saw justice. No matter how obvious it was that John or one of his sisters were at fault Jane was always blamed. By looking at Jane’s moral values it becomes apparent what Rochester has, in Jane’s eyes, done wrong. He was deceitful in many ways. For one, he didn’t tell Jane that he was already married when he asked her to marry him. Big mistake! He also pretended that he was in love with and going to marry Blanche Ingram so that he could make Jane jealous. Even though Jane loves Mr. Rochester she cannot go against her morals; her beliefs. Moral and psyche are one in the conscience. Jane may have been mentally weak in resisting the impulse to marry Mr. Rochester after she found out the truth, but she still “[kept] the law given by God; sanctioned by man.” She realized that she must uphold “the principles received by [her] when [she] was sane, and not mad.” From this perspective Jane did the “right thing.”