Well Lennye in my opinion he was a common womanizer.
I don't try to justify him at all. Neither justify nor try to understand cause for me it is immpossible. He married his wife because of money (the most important factor) , then she became ill and he didn't tell to the woman who he loved and tried to marry that he was married and had a baby?
Oh Lennye - you demand from me too much in this place. I would spit at him. That's all:(
If he had any honour he wouldn't have married Jane at all. Neither he tried to promise her stars when in fact his life was one, big rubbish heap.
You could say it's impossible trying to figure out his personality since it's a novel. On the other hand, it's the beauty of it: you can get your imagination goes wild. You could use the words that describe him to back him up or go against him.
As for my case, I'd like to do the pro and not con part. I'd like to believe he was a victim of his time. He was a victim of his society, which expected people of the same class wedded to each other. Hence, Bearth and Ingram were the ones for him. However, he went against the traditions to be able to marry to the love of his life, Jane Eyre.
I'd like to believe his love for Jane was real. I find it wrong that he lied to her about his marriage status, which he believed he was lied to. The appropriate suggestion is he should have told her, but in his eyes Jane was pure like a first snowflake of the winter. He was afraid of the fact he would have lost her forever if he told her. It's indeed irrational and inexcuable, yet it's how strong his love was for her-- the fear of losing someone you love so much and the insecurity of not being good enough to keep them. Would you criticize someone with this love?
Why did you think he couldn't marry her? He'd made her felt what was love. He'd made her felt how to miss a person she loved most. A person who is going through life without experience what love is about would have all his/her wasted. Because of Rochester Jane's life wasn't wasted; therefore, he was her soul mate.