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Minor Characters in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

The Minor Characters of Jane Eyre

All the minor characters who appear in the novel, Jane Eyre are only sketched in, so to speak. They are “flat”; not developed in the way that the central three characters are developed. All of them are conventional; behave and speak conventionally, and do not develop at all. They are set merely as foils for the central characters, and they tend to be extremes or stereotypes, behaving very predictably and not surprising us with any unexpected reaction.

Some of the minor characters who parallel aspects of Jane’s character, like Maria Temple and Helen Burns, are idealised – made to seem saint-like. others, who contrast with Jane, like Georgiana Reed and Blanche Ingram, are grotesque in order to emphasise the difference between them and her.They become, in effect, symbolic and their excesses or virtues sharpen the contrast with Jane.

Georgiana and Eliza Reed are described by JE as “feeling without judgement”(Georgiana) and “Judgement without feeling” (Eliza) – both are drawn by CB to show the results of each type of excessive behaviour. JE herself has to fight to preserve the balance in HER character between Judgement and feeling – the Reed sisters therefore provide an indicator as to what happens if the balance goes wrong.

Blanche Ingram is a woman without scruples or morality – haughty and proud – very beautiful and priveleged – she is nevertheless shallow and intellectually inferior. She is a warning shadow to JE, who is soon to be faced with the temptation to give in to her passions and embrace the shallow life of a courtesan, when Rochester pleads with her to go to the continent with him after the “wedding”. The more virtuous minor characters serve the same function, standing as moral or spiritual beacons to which Jane may aspire, but may not ever reach.

Maria Temple – the charitable schoolteacher is both an example and a warning. She can and does serve as a role-model for Jane, but she is also a powerless female – having to answer for her independence to a wrathful Mr Brocklehurst, and having no real authority when he is on the premises. Her position is servile and inferior and she submits to it. JE later will break this pattern at Thornfield, in her dealings with her employer, but ironically her habit of submissiveness is gained as a direct result of association with Maria Temple.

Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Do you believe in fate? To answer the question, you must first have a correct idea of what fate is. A definition of fate would be the power that is supposed to settle ahead of time how things will happen. Could there be such a power that rules our lives, and if so, why? Romeo and Juliet, the two young lovers in William Shakespeare’ s Romeo and Juliet, ended up becoming a large part of what could be called “fate”. Fate seemed to control their lives and force them together, becoming a large part of their love, and the ending of their parent’s hatred. Fate became the ultimate control power in this play, and plays a large part in modern everyday life, even if we don’t recognize it. Maybe we don’t recognize it because we choose not to, or don’t have faith like we used to, but the fact remains that fate controls what we do throughout all of our lives.

A large part of the beliefs for both Romeo and Juliet involve fate. They believed in the stars, and that their actions weren’t always their own. Romeo, for example, 1.4.115-120, he says, “Some consequence yet hanging in the stars…by some vile forfeit of untimely death. But he that hath the steerage over my course Direct my sail.” He’s basically saying to his friends that he had a dream which leads him to believe that he will die young because of something in the stars, something that will happen. He ends with “…he that hath steerage over my course…” which implies that he does not have control over his life if he looks to another power above himself to direct him. He does not feel that he is the one who makes decisions, it is all a higher purpose, a different power. We’re all sort of like the puppets below the puppeteer. He’s asking for that puppeteer to direct his “sail,” or his life, in the right direction.

Fate directs us all like the puppets on the end of it’s string, and I believe strongly in it. It is, in many ways, the mystical power that controls who and what we become, and it explains that which can not be explained. Romeo was looking to this power, asking of this power to direct him, not to an untimely death as he foresaw in his dream, but to just steer him, because that is the control which he knows he does not have over himself.

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