A Byronic hero is derived from the works of Lord Byron. Like Byron himself, a Byronic hero is a melancholy and rebellious young man, distressed by a terrible wrong he committed in the past. It is marked by splendid personal qualities, has a hidden sin and many other versatile attributes. Charlotte Bronte describes Mr. Rochester as having many of these same traits in her book, Jane Eyre. From the moment Jane meets Mr. Rochester, she sees that he is a mysterious person. When they first encounter each other, Jane observes that he has a dark face, stern features, and a heavy brow.
Rochester is not handsome, but he has very distinctive characteristics; he engages Jane with his magnetic personality. People are attracted to him although he is a social outcast. When Jane mentions to Mrs. Fairfax that she finds Rochester “changeful and abrupt,” Mrs. Fairfax suggests that his mannerisms are the result of a difficult personal history. He had a depressing childhood with his father leaving all of the wealth to his brother. The only reason he gained anything was because both his father and brother had died. Later in the story it is revealed to Jane that he also had many other secrets.
Mr. Rochester had many affairs with ladies throughout his life. He even had his own wife, whom he married for money, at the time he tried to marry Jane. Although Rochester keeps such a secret, he genuinely falls in love with Jane. In Chapter 23, he says, “You—poor and obscure, and small and plain as you are—I entreat to accept me as a husband. ” This demonstrates another Byronic trait: complete disregard for social rank. Rochester, a man of great wealth, eagerly marries the former governess. A Byronic character is usually cunning and deceitful.
Rochester wants to find out what Jane thinks of him, but doesn’t want to ask her directly. One example of this is when Mr. Rochester disguises himself as a gypsy and offers to tell the guests’ fortunes. The gypsy tells Blanche Ingram that Rochester is not as wealthy as he seems. In doing so, Rochester learns Ingram’s main motive for marriage. Rochester tells Jane that she is very close to happiness, and reveals his true identity. Another example of his trickery is when the pair are walking through the garden and Rochester tells Jane that he plans to marry Blanche Ingram.