Jane Eyre in its novel form and its various adaptations (the musical included) has haunted me for decades and subconsciously probably affected multiple relationships in my life over the years. This may be a fairly controversial opinion but it's one that I have to offer up to the collective community to gauge the response of others who have been as shaped by this story as I have:
I'm fairly certain that Jane, while incredibly intelligent and strong-willed, suffers from some form of post-traumatic stress from her childhood neglect/abuse with the Reeds. It is the hole in her life and psyche that this longstanding abuse and emotional trauma that this experience creates within her that is filled when she meets Mr. Rochester, who is older, dark and twisty in all the right ways to address her particular dysfunctions. He appears to engage her independent spirit and intelligence and to look upon her as his "equal", but we know of course of all the ways he intentionally toys with her emotions, manipulates her psychologically ("Painting Her Portrait" anyone?), and is ultimately dishonest with his so-called 'second self'.
The theory stands that a healthy Jane who grew up in a normal environment with loving parents and a well-adjusted sense of self-worth may never have fallen in love with Rochester in the first place. Rochester might be objectively Byronic and inherently attractive for that, but men like him have a particular draw for damaged women.
What do you all think?