Over the last year I took a trip down Memory Lane and re-read Jane Eyre. I first read it when I was about 13 and was surprised again by how insightful it was and how it clearly was pushing at your sense of what is the morally right thing to do.
” Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion” – Currer Bell AKA Charlotte Bronte, and we are only at the preface! (BTW this was written on 21st Dec 1847.)
The pinnacle of the story is the problem of marriage, love and divorce. Mr Rochester is married to a complete lunatic and is unable to have any kind of proper marriage and eventually caves out to asking Jane Eyre to marry him but at the altar it comes out that he would be enticing the two of them to commit the crime of bigamy. So the problem is – Is the love that two people have for each other more important than the rules that society have in place especially if those rules hinders a person’s chance at acquiring happiness? This question can also be seen in the epic that is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, where Anna finds that society so wishes to degrade her to accepting a loveless marriage rather than divorce that in her unhappiness she commits sucide( Spoiler Alert! Oops too late…) And all because of the commandment – Thou shalt not commit Adultery!!
While the morality of the situation pulls at your heart strings, unhappiness versus love, the reality is that marriage is a vow and your attitude to that vow is at the crux of the issues. Happiness is not what life is all about. Could you imagine a world where there was a commandment ‘Thou shalt commit to happiness’ No? You must ask yourself if this was not a commandment then the alternative must be better.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.- Jeremiah 29:11.
Google phrase of the day – Raging Love