“ ‘You are like a murderer—you are like a slave-driver—you are like the Roman emperors!’ ” (5).
Jane compares her cousin John to the Roman emperors, who were known for their tyranny and cruelty. Nero and Caligula were two Roman emperors that Jane read about in “Goldsmith’s History of Rome” (5). Jane’s interpretations of the two emperors deemed them slave-drivers and tyrants in Jane’s opinion, and she sees similarities between her John and the emperors, which she expressed here. Brontë includes this comparison to the Roman emperors to give her audience a better understanding of John’s behavior. Although the reference to Roman emperors is now outdated, at the time Brontë published Jane Eyre, Roman emperors had not been gone for long, thus making the reference useful.