The Portrait of a Lady | Study Guide

Henry James

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The Portrait of a Lady | Characters

Character Description
Isabel Archer Isabel Archer is an intelligent, independent, young American woman who embarks on a tour of Europe and self-discovery, only to find herself duped into a loveless marriage with a controlling man. Read More
Madame Merle Madame Merle is a brilliant and accomplished widow who tricks Isabel into marrying her old lover in order to use Isabel's money to support him, as well as their love child. Read More
Gilbert Osmond Gilbert Osmond is an American who has lived in Italy for many years and spends his time acquiring and curating his collection of antiquities. He conspires with Madame Merle to marry Isabel for her fortune. Read More
Ralph Touchett Ralph Touchett is a relatively young man suffering from "consumption," or tuberculosis. Rather than take over his father's bank (as Mr. Touchett had hoped), Ralph is resigned to living a quiet life he suspects will be shortened because of his condition. Read More
Lord Warburton Lord Warburton is a wealthy English nobleman with unusually liberal political beliefs. Although he planned to never marry, he falls in love with Isabel and proposes. Read More
Caspar Goodwood Caspar Goodwood is a successful American businessman who is in love with Isabel and determined to make her marry him. He is a persistent, forceful man. Read More
Mr. Archer Mr. Archer is Isabel's unconventional though well-intentioned father; he gives her and his other two daughters every opportunity, whether he can afford it or not.
Mrs. Archer, the elder Isabel's grandmother, old Mrs. Archer, the elder, provides her granddaughters with a place to live, free of rigorous rules and structure.
Mrs. Archer, the younger Isabel's mother, Mrs. Archer, the younger, dies while Isabel is quite young. She is Mrs. Touchett's sister.
Mr. Bantling Mr. Bantling is an old friend of Ralph's who becomes Henrietta's good friend, traveling companion, and eventually fiancé. He is good natured and unthreatened by Henrietta's unconventionality.
Sister Catherine Sister Catherine is a nun at the convent to which Osmond sends Pansy. Sister Catherine is fond of Pansy and believes the girl is fitted for the world, not a religious life.
Annie Climber Annie Climber is an American friend of Henrietta who receives many offers of marriage on her tour of Europe, even though she isn't very attractive.
Miss Climber Miss Climber is the sister of Annie Climber. Both sisters are from Delaware and are friends of Henrietta.
Countess Gemini Countess Amy Gemini is the fussy, self-involved sister of Gilbert Osmond. She is unhappily married to an unfaithful Italian count, and she has no love for her brother, whom she thinks is capable of anything.
Girl in pink The girl in pink is at one of the Osmonds' Thursday evening gatherings. Isabel bids Mr. Rosier to speak to her, but apparently she is rather dull.
Lady Haycock Lady Haycock is Lord Warburton's second eldest sister; she holds the conservative political views of her husband, Lord Haycock.
Lord Haycock Lord Haycock is a Tory and influences his wife, one of Lord Warburton's sisters, to hold the same conservative views.
Sir Matthew Hope Sir Matthew Hope is a celebrated London doctor whom Ralph procures for his father's treatment but whom Ralph tires of as his own physician when he becomes ill later.
Sister Justine Sister Justine is a nun at the convent to which Osmond sends Pansy to be educated.
Edith Keyes Edith Keyes is the prettiest of the Archer sisters. She is married to a U.S. Engineer stationed in the western part of the United States.
Vicar of Lockleigh The Vicar of Lockleigh is a surprisingly muscular, jovial man who was once a wrestler. He is one of Lord Warburton's two brothers.
Mr. Luce Mr. Luce is an American living abroad in Paris who enjoys the finer things the city has to offer; dining, in particular. He recalls fondly the days of France under the rule of the emperor.
Mrs. Luce Mrs. Luce is an old friend of Mrs. Touchett who lives very comfortably in Paris and takes great pride in the shine of her polished floors.
Edmund Ludlow Edmund Ludlow is a lawyer and husband to Isabel's sister Lilian. He finds Isabel's personality to be alarming and a bit too progressive.
Lilian Ludlow Lilian Ludlow is the eldest of the Archer sisters and is married to a lawyer. She doesn't fancy herself to be as smart as Isabel, but she is fond of her sister and glad of her opportunity to go abroad.
Miss Molyneux Miss Molyneux is the elder of the two unmarried sisters of Lord Warburton who live with him at Lockleigh and befriend Isabel.
Mildred Molyneux Mildred Molyneux is the younger of Lord Warburton's two unmarried sisters who live with him at Lockleigh and befriend Isabel.
Pansy Osmond Pansy Osmond is the obedient and submissive, mild-mannered daughter of Gilbert Osmond. She does not know her mother is Madame Merle, whom she dislikes, and she comes to love Isabel.
Lady Pensil Lady Pensil is Mr. Bantling's sister, mother of seven, who is married to a baron and lives on a Bedfordshire country estate where she loves to entertain the well-connected, bright minds of the day. She eventually invites Henrietta to visit.
Edward Rosier Edward Rosier is a collector of artifacts with a small fortune but no brilliance who lives in Paris. He knew Isabel as a child, and he falls in love with Pansy.
Henrietta Stackpole Henrietta Stackpole is an independent, self-confident American female reporter who is traveling in Europe to gain material for her column. She is a loyal friend to Isabel.
Mr. Touchett Mr. Daniel Tracy Touchett is an elderly and infirm but jovial and kind American who made his permanent residence in England after he retired from his job as a banker, a career that made him wealthy enough to buy an English country home. Upon his death he leaves Isabel a large sum of money.
Mrs. Touchett Mrs. Lydia Touchett is an idiosyncratic old woman who lives in Italy, separately from her husband and son in England. She is demanding and blunt but enjoys showing Isabel across Europe.
Mrs. Varian Mrs. Varian is Isabel's paternal aunt, and she is convinced Isabel is writing a novel.
Lord Warburton's brother Lord Warburton's other brother is irresponsible and financially dependent upon the eldest brother. He is in military service in India.
Lord Warburton's sister Lord Warburton's fourth (eldest) sister is the mother of five children and lives in Norfolk.
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