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Characters

Meet the Cast

Isabel Archer

Isabel is – wow. She’s – huh? Isabel is – well, tough. She is a lot of contradictions. She’s both easy to describe and hard to figure out; relatable and remote; profou...

Gilbert Osmond

One of the creepiest images in the novel is that of Osmond’s "beautiful mind" (42.5), which holds Isabel captive. He has a grasp on her that’s truly diabolical, and his mental and emoti...

Madame Merle

Isabel once asks a very apt question: "Who are you? What are you?" Like Isabel herself, Madame Merle is a mass of contradictions, all hidden underneath a preternaturally smooth, too-flawless shell...

Ralph Touchett

OK, yes, it’s definitely icky for first cousins to get married (not to mention illegal in many states), but we kind of wish that we could rig up some kind of alternate universe portal and jus...

Henrietta Stackpole

Henrietta Stackpole is just a laugh and a half, both intentionally and unintentionally. She’s quite serious about her job at the New York Interviewer, but generally approaches life with a goo...

Caspar Goodwood

Caspar Goodwood is the only character that we really have trouble getting to know; perhaps it’s because he’s always wearing invisible armor, as Isabel sees him. He does have the dashing...

Mrs. Touchett

Crazy Aunt Lydia, as Isabel identifies her, really does seem to be somewhat batty, but it turns out that she’s just intensely opinionated. She’s judgmental to an extreme, and feels no q...

Mr. Touchett

Mr. Touchett isn’t around for too much of the novel, but he grows on us, and on Isabel, very quickly. He’s one of the few characters who is exactly what he seems to be – a very ki...

Lord Warburton

Lord Warburton, the blossom of the British Empire, the culmination of English manhood, the fruit of enlightened aristocracy – Lord Warburton is just a great guy. Really, he is… despite...

Countess Gemini

Countess Gemini is not an important lady, but she thinks that she is. In reality, she’s a weak, absurd, friendly, somewhat idiotic, but harmless petty aristocrat; in her mind, she’s fas...

Pansy Osmond

We go back and forth on Pansy – we can’t decide if she’s adorable or eerie, or perhaps both. Since birth, she is totally manipulated by Osmond and is raised under various false ci...

Edward Rosier

It’s no wonder Pansy chooses to fall in love with Edward Rosier – he shares many characteristics with her dear old dad, without any of his scheming malevolence. Like Osmond, Rosier is a...

Mr. Bantling

We don’t get to know Mr. Bantling (soon to be Mr. Stackpole, in our minds) very well, but he generally appears to be… exactly what he appears to be. That is, he’s a jolly, earnest...

The Misses Molyneux

The two docile Misses Molyneux are Lord Warburton’s sisters (the name thing is a little confusing – the Warburton name is reserved for the eldest son, who inherits the ancestral estate...

Lilian Ludlow, née Archer

Lillian, the eldest of the three Archer sisters, is commonly perceived to be the "sensible" one – not a very complimentary title, considering that Edith is the beautiful one and Isabel the in...
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