The protagonist and narrator, Jane is an orphaned girl caught between class boundaries, financial situations, and her own conflicted feelings. In her youth and again as a governess, Jane must depend on others for support… (read full character analysis)
The wealthy master of Thornfield Hall and Jane's employer and, later, her husband. Over the course of his life, he grows from a naive young man, to a bitter playboy in Europe, to a humble… (read full character analysis)
A parson with two sisters at Moor House, and Jane's cousin. Much like Jane, St. John is a restless character, searching for a place and purpose in life. Like Mr. Rochester, St. John has a… (read full character analysis)
Jane's young pupil at Thornfield, who is Mr. Rochester's ward. As Jane reforms Adèle's "French" characteristics with an English education, she symbolically restores Mr. Rochester's morality from his previous lifestyle.
Adèle's mother, Céline Varens is a flirty French singer who was also Mr. Rochester's mistress. As Rochester's mistress, Céline was essentially a hired woman, submitting to the shallow status of a dependent. She represents the opposite of what Jane wants in her relationship.
A beautiful socialite who wants to marry Mr. Rochester. Blanche embodies the shallow and class-prejudiced woman of the old aristocracy.
A rich and beautiful woman who supports Jane's school at Morton. She loves St. John, but marries a wealthy man when it becomes clear that St. John's focus is on his missionary work.
Diana and Mary Rivers
Jane's cousins and St. John's sisters. Similar to Jane in intellect and personality, they show Jane heartfelt compassion that contrasts with St. John's more dutiful sense of charity.
The housekeeper at Thornfield Hall.
The mysterious servant at Thornfield who watches over Bertha Mason. Her name suggests religious grace, which Rochester cannot find until Bertha's suicide.
The timid brother of Bertha Mason, and Rochester's former business partner in Jamaica.
Jane and the Rivers' uncle. A successful wine merchant who leaves Jane an inheritance of 20,000 pounds.
As Jane's maternal uncle, he adopts the orphaned Jane and makes his wife promise to care for her as their own child.
Jane's aunt by marriage, and the matron of Gateshead Hall. Mrs. Reed feels threatened by Jane, who has superior qualities to her own children. Mrs. Reed represents the anxiety of a wealthy and conservative social class, which acts defensively to protect itself from independent minds like Jane's.
Mrs. Reed's son, and a bully.
A spoiled daughter of Mrs. Reed, and later a superficial socialite.
Mrs. Reed's third child, who is more reserved and stern than her siblings.
A house servant of Mrs. Reed, Bessie is the only person at Gateshead to treat Jane with any kindness.
The parson and hypocritical overseer of Lowood Institution. Mr. Brocklehurst advocates a severe religious program of self-improvement—denying the body to save the soul. But unlike St. John Rivers, the pampered Mr. Brocklehurst does not practice what he preaches.
The headmistress of Lowood school. Ms. Temple serves as a mother figure and a model of intellectual refinement, gentle authority, and emotional sensibility for Jane and Helen. Both girls feel a deep connection to Ms. Temple.
Jane's best friend at Lowood, and a model of personal strength and even temperament for Jane. Helen is a withdrawn intellectual with an optimistic religious view of universal salvation that contrasts with St. John's beliefs.
A cruel teacher at Lowood school.
A servant at Gateshead.
The lawyer who, during Jane's first wedding ceremony with Rochester, reveals that Rochester is already married to Bertha Mason.