Jane Eyre Synopsis

PROLOGUE

Jane is running, her journey hindered by imaginary male figures – her inner demons. She collapses and is discovered by St. John Rivers. He carries her to his home and, with his sisters, aids her recovery, listening to fragments of her story that escape from her dark dreams.

 

ACT I

An Orphan

Young Jane is orphaned and raised without love by her wealthy Aunt, Mrs. Reed. Her cousins Eliza, Georgiana, and John torment her until she retaliates against John’s physical abuse. Horrified by what she misconstrues as Jane’s arrogance and violence, her Aunt asks Reverend Brocklehurst to take Jane away to Lowood School for orphaned girls.

 

Lowood School

The girls lead a rigid life of deprivation under their cruel headmaster, Reverend Brocklehurst. Jane befriends Helen Burns, but when Helen dies of consumption, an anguished jane finds herself questioning her own destiny.

 

Grown Up

Reaching adulthood, Jane has completed her studies and becomes a teacher to the orphans. However, she yearns for new experiences in the wider world and accepts an invitation to become governess at Thornfield Hall.

 

Thornfield

Jane is welcomed to Thornfield by the housekeeper, Mrs. Fairfax, and her new pupil, Adele. Her employer, Edward Rochester, returns home from his world travels. Dark and passionate, he is surprised to meet his intellectual match in Jane and treats her with a respect she has never known.

 

All is not peaceful at Thornfield, however; Jane senses secrets within the whispering walls. One night, Jane is woken by the smell of smoke and rescues Mr. Rochester from his flaming bed. As they stand in the fire’s aftermath, an intimacy is born that both excites and scares Jane.

 

INTERMISSION

 

ACT II

Jealousy

A party is held and Jane feels uncomfortable in the presence of Rochester’s grand guests, especially the beautiful and wealthy Blanche Ingram, who seems to have caught Mr. Rochester’s attention. Jane remains at the party at Mr. Rochester’s insistence until the festivities are interrupted by a servant, Grace Poole, who enters inexplicably agitated and injured. Mr. Rochester sends the party guests away whilst entrusting Grace Poole to Jane’s care.

 

A Proposal

Rochester returns to the ballroom where Jane waits alone. He attempts to rekindle the intimacy between them

, but she pulls back, convinced that he is engaged to Blanche Ingram. When Rochester proposes marriage to a stunned Jane, she initially believes he is mocking her but eventually accepts, unaware of a mysterious woman in red watching them from the shadows.

 

A Wedding

The household prepares for Jane and Rochester’s wedding. As the intimate ceremony begins, the woman bursts into the room. She is Bertha Mason, and she claims to be the wife of Mr. Rochester. He admits that Bertha, crazed as she is, speaks the truth, and that he cannot legally make Jane his wife. With the help of Grace Poole, his servant and Bertha’s “keeper,” they restrain and return Bertha to her secret chamber in the house.

 

Utterly heartbroken, Jane cannot conceive of a future with Mr. Rochester and flees alone into the moors, where she collapses.

 

Taken In

St. John Rivers discovers Jane almost unconscious and takes her home to his sisters. She is very ill and experiences distressing dreams about her past. Gently, the women nurture Jane back to health.

 

St. John sees a potential wife in Jane; however, Jane recoils from his cool yet insistent proposal, recognizing that he will never love her with the same passion as Mr. Rochester.

 

Burnt

A determined Jane returns to seek Mr. Rochester at Thornfield, but in her absence, there has been a huge fire, ignited – for the second time – by Bertha Mason. With every reason to wish Bertha dead, Mr. Rochester still attempts to save her from her own hand but fails – she dies, and he is left blind.

 

Reunited

Jane finds Mr. Rochester a broken man. Yet as he recognizes her presence, he falls into her arms. Jane proposes marriage to Mr. Rochester, and as they embrace, forever as equals, Jane looks ahead to her future. She has not only found love but gained ownership of her own destiny.

 

 

Photo of Joffrey Artists Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews by Cheryl Mann. 

Content

PROLOGUE

Jane is running, her journey hindered by imaginary male figures – her inner demons. She collapses and is discovered by St. John Rivers. He carries her to his home and, with his sisters, aids her recovery, listening to fragments of her story that escape from her dark dreams.

 

ACT I

An Orphan

Young Jane is orphaned and raised without love by her wealthy Aunt, Mrs. Reed. Her cousins Eliza, Georgiana, and John torment her until she retaliates against John’s physical abuse. Horrified by what she misconstrues as Jane’s arrogance and violence, her Aunt asks Reverend Brocklehurst to take Jane away to Lowood School for orphaned girls.

 

Lowood School

The girls lead a rigid life of deprivation under their cruel headmaster, Reverend Brocklehurst. Jane befriends Helen Burns, but when Helen dies of consumption, an anguished jane finds herself questioning her own destiny.

 

Grown Up

Reaching adulthood, Jane has completed her studies and becomes a teacher to the orphans. However, she yearns for new experiences in the wider world and accepts an invitation to become governess at Thornfield Hall.

 

Thornfield

Jane is welcomed to Thornfield by the housekeeper, Mrs. Fairfax, and her new pupil, Adele. Her employer, Edward Rochester, returns home from his world travels. Dark and passionate, he is surprised to meet his intellectual match in Jane and treats her with a respect she has never known.

 

All is not peaceful at Thornfield, however; Jane senses secrets within the whispering walls. One night, Jane is woken by the smell of smoke and rescues Mr. Rochester from his flaming bed. As they stand in the fire’s aftermath, an intimacy is born that both excites and scares Jane.

 

INTERMISSION

 

ACT II

Jealousy

A party is held and Jane feels uncomfortable in the presence of Rochester’s grand guests, especially the beautiful and wealthy Blanche Ingram, who seems to have caught Mr. Rochester’s attention. Jane remains at the party at Mr. Rochester’s insistence until the festivities are interrupted by a servant, Grace Poole, who enters inexplicably agitated and injured. Mr. Rochester sends the party guests away whilst entrusting Grace Poole to Jane’s care.

 

A Proposal

Rochester returns to the ballroom where Jane waits alone. He attempts to rekindle the intimacy between them

, but she pulls back, convinced that he is engaged to Blanche Ingram. When Rochester proposes marriage to a stunned Jane, she initially believes he is mocking her but eventually accepts, unaware of a mysterious woman in red watching them from the shadows.

 

A Wedding

The household prepares for Jane and Rochester’s wedding. As the intimate ceremony begins, the woman bursts into the room. She is Bertha Mason, and she claims to be the wife of Mr. Rochester. He admits that Bertha, crazed as she is, speaks the truth, and that he cannot legally make Jane his wife. With the help of Grace Poole, his servant and Bertha’s “keeper,” they restrain and return Bertha to her secret chamber in the house.

 

Utterly heartbroken, Jane cannot conceive of a future with Mr. Rochester and flees alone into the moors, where she collapses.

 

Taken In

St. John Rivers discovers Jane almost unconscious and takes her home to his sisters. She is very ill and experiences distressing dreams about her past. Gently, the women nurture Jane back to health.

 

St. John sees a potential wife in Jane; however, Jane recoils from his cool yet insistent proposal, recognizing that he will never love her with the same passion as Mr. Rochester.

 

Burnt

A determined Jane returns to seek Mr. Rochester at Thornfield, but in her absence, there has been a huge fire, ignited – for the second time – by Bertha Mason. With every reason to wish Bertha dead, Mr. Rochester still attempts to save her from her own hand but fails – she dies, and he is left blind.

 

Reunited

Jane finds Mr. Rochester a broken man. Yet as he recognizes her presence, he falls into her arms. Jane proposes marriage to Mr. Rochester, and as they embrace, forever as equals, Jane looks ahead to her future. She has not only found love but gained ownership of her own destiny.

 

 

Photo of Joffrey Artists Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews by Cheryl Mann.