Marriage in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

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In the Victorian period, the view on women was around an image of women as both inferior and superior to men. They did not have legal rights, could not vote and had to pay for the labor force after the Revolution. Women have to do their inner space, clean their homes, eat their homes and raise their children. Men control over the whole property. The rights and privileges of Victorian women were very limited for both single and married. Women was subjected to many forms of verbal and physical violence and had no right to divorce. Marriage for countless women at that sometime means happiness and stability, whereas many Victorian people, call marriage as a legally binding contract.

The Victorian victory of Great Britain is regarded as the rise of the British industrial revolution and the summit of the British empire. The 64-year-old power of Victoria, the longest ruler in British history after II.Elizabeth, witnessed major changes in the 19th century. According to many historians of the Victorian Revolution, the 1832 reform movement is the real beginning of this cultural era. Significant historical transformations such as labor exploitation and workers rights, organized educational institutions, and the abolition of slavery, which came up with the industrial revolution, have emerged during this period. According to Mina Urgan, she summarized the Victoria period, which is conceptually filled with contradictions and conflicts: the desire to respectable with family values and the hypocrisy it brings, sacred finding of unloved marriages, narrow-mindedness and religious bigotry, lack of respect for money, unjust economic order, hatred (1156). According to mentality of that period, women had two choices: either to fall into the street and become a bad woman, or to be chaste woman, maintaining her home life. The imprisonment of a middle class woman in the house started with fun, organized parties and shopping centers, but that was not the only problem that made life diffucult. Women had to comply with etiquitte. It was expected that women should be married at 21 years of age and have children. The only working areas seemed to be marriage, and their wives seemed to have bosses. She was also given the task of keeping her husband’s heart pleasant and providing her child with moral education. It has not taken too long for women, both in the workplace and at home to face diffucult circumstances, to start appealing. In the late 1840’s, the the first organization of women’s movement began to take shape. The movement slowed down, but there were more to get the desired results. With the increase of that female authors, women were given the right to engage with science, allowed to enter more areas, but in legal sense, women could not get the value that they needed to see. Some of the legal reforms were too shallow. For example; In 1857, marriage legislation was reformed, but unfortunately this reform was for from the law in which decisions were taken in favour of the man.

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Love, courtesy, and marriage concepts ... Marriage symbolizes not only Victorians, but also unity, and the importance of which, for the society as a whole, is undeniably centralized. It constitutes a tradition that transcends temporary, cultural and national boundaries. The marriage ritual may have different contours depending on the time and geographic location of the participants, but the unity of the two people is always in the nucleus and the ceremony involves the preservation of the fidelity of the couples. Marriage in the Victorian Ages was the most important transition ritual in the lives of young women. Most women married at least once. Later they were accepted as the property of your husband. During the Victorian Ages, a marriage controlled by parents, was deemed necessary for the family's long-term interests, as well as the couple. Marriage is seen as a natural and expected role in which the woman meets her instinctual needs, protects her species, provides appropriate tasks, and protects her from the shock and danger of the rude and competitive world. In the privacy of the house, better instincts; Sensitivity, sacrifice, innate purity can play freely. Women should be kept safe at home; perfect harmony, obedience, innocence and sophistication will make it easier to sacrifice in the competitive public world. This conservative ideal, Alfred Tennyson's 1847 poem says in Princess:

Man for the field and woman fort he hearth;

Man for the sword, and fort he needle she;

Man with the head, and woman with the hearth;

Man to command, and woman to obey;

All else confusion. (Lane,1996)

Charlotte Bronte was an English 19th century writer whose novel Jane Eyre is considered a classic of Western literatüre. Born on April 21, 1816, in Thornton, Yorkshire, England, Charlotte Bronte worked as a teacher and governess before collaborating on a book of poetry with her two sisters, Emily and Anne, who were writers as well. In 1847, Brontë published the semi-autobiographical novel Jane Eyre, which was a hit and would become a literary classic. Her other novels included Shirley and Villette. She died on March 31, 1855, in Haworth, Yorkshire, England. The role of a single woman in the nineteenth century is still essentially fulfilling the two holy things: being a wife and mother and being trained only to do housework. In her novel, Jane Eyre Brontë attempts to portray the traditional motif of a young girl who is facing difficulties in her work on issues such as her role, condition, gender, social class, her love for society, and her marriage. Although marriage based on money or financial security is common when women face difficulties in the nineteenth century, Brontë in Jane Eyre tries to bring the idea that marriage is not merely a social contract, a love marriage is needed. Brontë draws attention to the necessity of equality in marriage. She creates Jane as a woman who struggles against social contracts and marriage in the nineteenth century when women are always portrayed as subordinates.

‘‘If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth – so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count it throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot ’’ (Bronte 405)

The above quote clearly demonstrates that Jane is aware of her action against the social contract and the marriage institution: she insists that the principles need to be changed.

In the novel Jane Eyre the female protagonist is trying to fight to marry comfortably. Although it is very difficult, despite its social status, property, family relationships and traditional perceptions of marriage, the female hero may be with her husband, who was elected in equality marriage. It seems that Jane Eyre uses the issue of marriage as a critic of the status of women in the nineteenth century. Since marriage is one of the dominant positions of women at that time, this thesis aims to analyze the nineteenth-century representation of marriage, particularly in relation to the position of women in Jane Eyre.

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Marriage in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 22, 2024, from
“Marriage in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022,
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