Jane Eyre-along

Time to get over our Bronte issues.

16 August 2006

Rochester's Treatment of Jane

I've always had this romantic idea of Rochester in my head, like Mr. Darcy, a larger than life romantic hero who's simply misunderstood. I've always felt sorry for him. But this time around, it's different. I'm not at all happy with the way he treats Jane when he first meets her in the lane, and then when he's questioning her skills as a governess. I also noticed what Jessie pointed out, of his explanation of Adele's mother, their relationship, and his absolute conviction that he wasn't Adele's father. I think I've glossed over his creepiness because I want to like him, so I forgive a lot. But maybe I should be questioning more and not letting him get away with this nonsense. I discussed this with my roommate, who cites this as her favorite book, and she told me that Rochester is just trying to bring Jane out of her shell. I can kind of see this, but I don't think it accounts for all the questioning, doubting, and general asshat-ery.

One of my favorite songs in the musical (see links below) is As Good as You, which Rochester sings to Jane when telling her of Adele's mother. He's telling Jane that women are not to be trusted and he knows this from experience, and that she is too naive to understand how love really works. The song doesn't paint him in the greatest light, but I've got a thing for impressive baritones :)

As Good as You
(you can here a clip at amazon)

Love is like a virus we're infected with
You're so naive
Wouldn't it be wonderful
If life was just as you perceive?
Women are inhuman, worthless
Hard and savage
On the average
Never to be trusted
Completely maladjusted, it's true
And if I'd not loved a few
I might have been as good as you
She was my flame, my gallic sylph
I was her fool's delight
She put me in her spell and turned my
Rage to trust in just one night
With appetites for pleasure
We would search for buried treasure
In the excess of temptation
I thought it my salvation, it's true
And if I had thought things through
I might have been as good as you
She found me handsome
My opera dancer
And like a fool I believed it was true
I held the world inside my hands, a man
Full in his prime
When she left me for another
Pierced my heart a second time
"Nothing lasts forever," she said
"Find the door yourself, dear, won't you?
Think me still your flower
I've treasured every hour, it's true
And if I had loved you, too
I might have been as good as you."
I came upon her some time later
The years had not been very kind
She has this child, Adele
Said she was mine, as well
"Nothing lasts forever, Edward
Take good care and, oh yes
Won't you take our lovely daughter?
For you see, dear, I don't want her
But I'm still your flower
I'll just bloom elsewhere
Tell her my soul is in heaven, with God"
Miss Eyre, I tell you this
Because I want you to know
That I, with some luck
Without shame, without blame
Or the curse of my name
Might have been as good as you

Jane Eyre, the Musical was on Broadway from November 2000 to June 2001
Internet Broadway Database entry
The Official Musical site
James Barbour, who played Rochester, and more photos of the show
The libretto

There's another Jane Eyre Musical that I'm not familiar with, more information here.


Blogger mysticgypsy said...

Yes, Rochester is not the most polite man out there. But I do like his honesty in some matters. He is troubled, he knows it, and he give Jane the impression of being so. He does not like Adele because of her mother, and tells Jane the reason why. He tells her that he does not like formalites and therefore dimisses them in front of Jane (when they met for tea). I feel like his faults are strangely what make him more...human, in fact, more trust-able, in my opinion.

That said, he does have a BIG secret that he conceals from Jane, which I am not in favor of. But I forgive him because he is human and fallible, and does have some good qualities in him, as well as awareness of his folly.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Yeah, I can't get too mad at him :)

12:19 AM  

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