Focusing on their relationship with authority figures, explore how the strong feelings of Jane Eyre and Juliet are presented 1. Introduction: Jane Eyre is a gothic bildungsroman novel set in the Nineteenth Century which follows the development of an orphan dependant into maturity, exploring the many struggles against society she faces along the way. Romeo and Juliet is a play set in 13th Century Italy. It portrays the story of two young lovers from feuding families who would not approve of their relationship.
The contrast in genre between the two works sets up some of the differences which can be found. However, both female characters also experience many difficulties as a result of society’s oppression on females at the time. They are both subject domination by the male characters in the play, and must remain obedient not only to their respective families and seniors, but also to God, and society’s ideals for marriage, status and honour. In addition, the writers have access to different techniques in their presentation of their character’s emotions.
Shakespeare utilises stage directions and the stage set to help to emphasise and arouse interest in the audience. The director and actors also play a part in the spectators’ viewing of the play, as what we see also includes their interpretation of the playwright’s work. On the other hand, Charlotte Bronte uses the first person perspective to give the reader an exciting insight into Jane’s unspoken feelings and the reasons behind her actions. 2. JE; Isolation: Jane’s relationship with her aunt provokes strong feelings of isolation.
As a dependant and an orphan, Jane is excluded from her wealthy, upper class family and from early on in the novel demonstrates her preference to solitude. She shows that she favours being withdrawn from the family in the quote “I was shrined in double retirement. ” By associating Jane’s exclusion with shrines and divinity, Bronte suggests that Jane enjoys her solitude, and has developed a resistance to the cold, emotionless atmosphere that her aunt has created. Jane also links her own situation to phrases from the book she is reading. She speaks of the “haunts of sea-fowl; of the solitary rocks and premonitions”.
This connection with her reading material makes Jane’s emotions more vivid, as the reader can imagine her childlike mind noticing the reflection in her own circumstances; solitary and hidden away in her own ‘crevice’. 3. JE; The Red Room: Subsequent to her aggressive behaviour towards her cousin John, Jane is forced to remain in the Red Room until her Aunt deems her to be reformed. The Red Room symbolises many things, including the confinements of the Victorian era for Jane and the introduction of the gothic theme continued throughout the novel.
Jane tells of her time spent in the Red Room, “From morning to noon, and from noon to dusk”, thus creating a tense atmosphere as the reader worries for Jane’s safety. The parallelism used in this quote exemplifies Jane’s seemingly constant struggle with the various restraints and challenges of her life as Mrs Reed’s orphan protege. The extensive passage describing her time spent in the Red Room also illustrates this point. The room is also a symbol of imprisonment, as it is hard to ignore the references to prisons and the locked door.
Although the Red Room represents Jane’s literal imprisonment, it could also embody the metaphorical limitations and lack of freedoms, mostly relating to Victorian social conventions and opinions towards Jane’s gender and social class. The room is symbolic of the struggles she experience at the hands of her relations, and as a consequence of their actions (i. e. sending her away to boarding school) and resulting from the various ventures towards independence she makes in her life (i. e. Leaving Thornfield, refusing St. John’s marriage proposal).
Later on in the book, the Red Room becomes a metaphorical authority figure acting upon Jane, as it affects and contributes towards many of her important life decisions. Whenever she is experiencing humiliation, she recalls the scene, which becomes an important symbol, almost a theme in itself through its recurrence at many of the prominent stages in Jane’s existence. 4. JE; Extreme Emotion: As a result of authority figures imprisoning her in the Red Room, Jane displays extreme emotion. The final paragraph of this extract commences with a short, simple sentence: “A singular notion dawned upon me”.
The tension is then built up by including longer, more complex sentences and lists. The punctuation used also contributes towards the fast-paced, agitated tone. Jane’s distressed condition is shown in the quotation: “My heart beat thick… I was oppressed, suffocated, endurance broke down”. This list of her feelings portrays Jane’s franticness and desperation to evade her imaginary tormentors. Bronte has used intense, emotive words like “suffocated” to demonstrate Jane’s fear and vulnerability, and this illustrates that Jane feels trapped and surrounded, as if there is no possible hope of escape.
She shows her steadily decreasing anger being gradually replaced by fear, to the climaxical point in the chapter, where Jane’s fearful state suddenly changes to hysteria. 5. JE; Fire and Ice: Bronte uses the juxtaposition of fire and ice in Chapter 4 to make Jane’s feelings more vivid to the reader. This this extract, Mrs Reed’s “eye of ice” continuing to “dwell freezingly” on Jane’s represents authority; and the fiery metaphors described demonstrate Jane’s anger and strong emotions.
The symbolism of ice and coldness during Jane’s confrontation with Mrs Reed portrays not only authority but also represents the final effect that authority has on her. The use of ice demonstrates the cold, emotionless atmosphere Jane lives in and suggests feelings of oppression and misery. In contrast, the use of fire in the phrase “a ridge of lighted heath” represents that passion in Jane’s speech and her unquenchable anger – even Mrs Reed’s icy reaction doesn’t halt the torrent of enmity Jane expresses towards her aunt. 6. Swap Over Paragraph:
In contrast to Jane’s unloved and unwanted position as she strives for independence, at the beginning of the play, Juliet leads a sheltered and much more privileged life, and enjoys the support of her parents and her devoted nurse. As she begins to explore maturity, when prompted to consider marriage, she is portrayed as young and innocent, only revealing her inner confidence when she meets Romeo at the Capulet Ball intended to be her first meeting of her arranged husband Count Paris. They then go on to share a secretive relationship, and marry.
Although they are set in different time periods, both female characters experience similar oppression as a result of common views at the time. On the other hand, there are many contrasts between the two works, due to their context, style and the progression of their characters. 7. Comparison – Light imagery: Light imagery is used in Romeo and Juliet not only to emphasise authority’s existence in their lives, but also to act as an authoritative personality upon the couple, as it affects their decisions and the events which occur.
Throughout their relationship, darkness is seen as a welcome presence, offering security and a secretive shadow to conceal their love from their feuding families. This is demonstrated in the quote “Come, night. Come, Romeo”. This shows that she knows that the darkness is necessary to maintain the safety of her husband, and therefore welcomes it with the same excitement she gives to her anticipation of Romeo’s arrival. However, in Jane Eyre, darkness is used to create an eerie, tense atmosphere and to illustrate Jane’s fear.
For instance, in the Red Room, Jane says: “Yet in what darkness … was the mental battle fought”. This connotes that she finds that dark frightening and Bronte has used this technique to emphasise Jane’s vulnerability at this point. This quotation also continues the theme of morbidity and gothic suspense emphasised in this passage. 8. Comparison – Fate and Destiny: Fate is a significant theme used by the playwright in Romeo and Juliet.
It permeates multiple speeches and scenes involving many different characters, and is also used as a metaphorical authority figure acting upon the two young lovers, as they are constantly thwarted in all attempts to change their tragic fate. From the very beginning of the play, Shakespeare informs the audience of the “star-cross’d lovers” fate, as the prologue announces that the love they are destined to share will be “death-mark’d”. The prose of the sonnet which marks the start of the performance is frequently mirrored during the play, as the characters foreshadow their own fates.
After meeting Romeo for the first time, Juliet remarks: “My grave is like to be my wedding bed”. This usage of foreshadowing and fate appeals to the Tudor audience, as superstition was rife at the time, and many people believed that their destiny was decided by the stars and the alignment of planets. This is demonstrated by the frequent citations of stars and other celestial bodies. Fate could be seen as an authority over the couple, as they futilely struggle against it, despite knowing they cannot escape it.
Shakespeare uses the irony of their situation to make the audience feel sorry for the couple, as all of their attempts to evade the fate actually end up causing it. This reinforces the notion that their love for each other is passionate and strong. Shakespeare’s use of inhuman forces shows similarities to Bronte’s use of the theme. There are less frequent references to the supernatural in the novel, but during her ordeal in the Red Room, Jane tells the reader that “superstition was with me at that moment”.
However she also reveals that this power acting upon her did not achieve “victory” over her, demonstrating that Jane struggles against these forces, but perseveres through them. The personification of superstition increases the gothic feel of the chapter and Bronte uses the technique to create tension and an eerie atmosphere. Although Shakespeare uses the technique for other different reasons (to appeal to his audience and as an authority figure over Romeo and Juliet), both writers use the personification to make their protagonists’ feelings more interesting. . Comparison – the Use of Colour Imagery: 10. Comparison – the Use of Heart Imagery:
11. Conclusion: In conclusion, both Shakespeare and Bronte use a variety of techniques to present the strong feelings of their main female characters. Many of these emotions come as a result of the actions and expectations of authority figures, or the constraints of the social convention of the time, which in both works become metaphorical authority figures over both Jane and Juliet at various points in the storyline.
Whereas Shakespeare has access to actors and staging to emphasise his characters and their emotions, Bronte uses techniques such as imagery and vivid descriptions to accentuate Jane’s passion and desire for freedom from society’s restrictions. However, although there are differences in the presentation, both writers demonstrate the use of similar techniques to deliver their ideas. They both utilise various metaphors and the personification of either superstition or fate to act upon their protagonists.