Inside the Mystic Doorway
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a reinvention of the story Bluebeard by Charles Perrault, for it show’s what could of been if the characters in Bluebeard had more definition to their personality. The story of Jane Eyre is about a more or less attractive woman trying to find her place in the world of the mid-1800. About her adventures in her child-hood up to her young adult years, and the mysteries and people she met in that time period. In the story of Bluebeard it is a lesson of curiosity and how one mistake can change a person’s life forever.
Though Jane Eyre and Bluebeard both have their similarities they also have their differences. First, the wife in Bluebeard is described as beautiful, whereas Jane is described as less attractive. The wife from Bluebeard came from a background of a loving family; on the other hand, Jane came from a harsher past. Furthermore, in the end of each stories the main female characters had to save themselves. While the wife saved herself by the help of her family killing Bluebeard, Jane had to through a whole saga of events to work for her happy ending. Then, the secrets that both Rochester and Bluebeard hold are different. Bluebeard secret, spoiler alert, is his past dead wives in his closet on the ground floor; and Mr. Rochester secret was his mad wife in his attic. In addition, what I found was that, from the story tells us, that their reasoning for these secrets was totally different. While Mr. Rochester had this secret for “good” intentions, Bluebeard did it for the sake of finding the “perfect” wife. Likewise, Bluebeard did what he did in the story for personal gain; Rochester did it out of love for Jane. To demonstrate, “You are my sympathy-my better self-my good angel. I am bound to you with a strong attachment…. To tell me that I had a wife is empty mockery; you know now that I had but a hideous demon. I was wrong to attempt to deceive you; but I feared a stubbornness that exists in your character. I feared early instilled prejudice; I wanted to have you safe before hazarding confidences” (295). This shows that while what Rochester did was wrong, he tried deep inside to keep from harming Jane from his past.
Both Jane Eyre and Bluebeard are also very similar in many ways. For example, Jane shows curiosity when looking for the door hidden in the attic at Thornfield Hall (104). This is similar to the wife in Bluebeard looking for the secret door on the ground floor. We do not know if the wife had a past education, so we look at her curiosity as ignorance and stupidity. Unlike Jane’s curiosity we view as normal since she has had an education and it would be normal that an educated woman to have curiosity. Another thing that connects both Jane and Bluebeard wife together in similarities are they both come to their future husbands in seek of money. For Jane she comes to Mr. Rochester for a job as a governess and the wife marries Bluebeard because he is rich.
Furthermore, Mr. Rochester is like Bluebeard in many ways. Not only in the stories are they both described as unattractive men, but they both have a fond flair for drama. To illustrate from the story Bluebeard, “This is the master key to all my apartments. But for this little one here, it is the key to the closet at the end of the great hall on the ground floor. Open them all; go into each and every one of them, except that little closet, which I forbid you, and forbid it in such a manner that, if you happen to open it, you may expect my just anger and resentment” (1). This quote is describing the scene where he gives the key to the secret door and thus her dreaded curiosity gives her future fate. Then there is Rochester who like Bluebeard is fond to exaggerate his words, especially when he explains his past. For instance, “What did I do, Jane? I transformed myself into a Will-o’-the-wisp. Where did I go? I pursued wanderings as wild as those of the Marsh-spirit. I sought the Continent, and went devious through all its lands” (290). In this scene Rochester is describing his past to Jane and how he thinks of it and how it affected him now. Both Rochester and Bluebeard also have kept secrets from their love ones, which left a nasty fate for both of them. In the end Bluebeard faces death for his secrets and Mr. Rochester one hand and blindness in his eyes.
Lastly, both Jane Eyre and Bluebeard are very alike, though they have their differences. They both describe curiosity and how it should affects our choices. They also discuss the weight of secrets and how it can change the lives of everyone surrounding the holder. Jane Eyre is a great reinvention of the Bluebeard story on what if the main characters had more definition to their personalities and past lives.
Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre, New York: Penguin, 1847. Print.
Perrault, Charles “Bluebeard: Folktales” Paris 1697.