What each character represents to isabel archer in portrait of a lady

Essay by jenniferinbdsm February 2004

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What each person represents to Isabel

Each person in the novel represents something to Isabel and makes her feel and think certain things, and she is drawn to different people for different reasons, and I will explore these reasons here. I will explore why she is drawn to some characters, and I will attempt to use this to highlight her choice in a husband.

First, I'm going to discuss the character of Isabel archer.

She is said to be the perfect Henry James heroine, embodying all of the major preoccupations of his writing career., she is a mix of unlike elements. Isabel Archer is both innocent and

knowing. she loves liberty and yet she marries a man who would guarantee her constraint, and she has a strong distaste for the emptiness of conventionality while submitting to it readily and consistently.

In her decision of whom to marry, we can find the same mix in Isabel of what seems at first to be romantic rebelliousness and conformity to conventionality.


In the beginning of the novel, we hear about isabel's sisters. She has seen her two sisters tied down in unsatisfying marriages, and she decides early on that she is not attracted to that lifestyle.


Chapter 13: Isabel once again tries to escape the possessiveness of Caspar Goodwood, her American suitor. She feels as if he influences her in such a way that it deprives her of a sense of freedom. He is a very powerful force in her mind and this force always translates in her sense of things to a diminished sense of liberty. She realizes she was very eager to take up Mrs. Touchett's offer to come with her to Europe because she wanted to escape Caspar Goodwood. She thinks of him as a sort of...