The Portrait of a Lady
The Portrait of a Lady Men and Masculinity Quotes
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Isabel slowly got up; standing there in her white cloak, which covered her to her feet, she might have represented the angel of disdain, first cousin to that of pity. "Oh, Gilbert, for a man who was so fine – !" she exclaimed in a long murmur. (46.22)
Osmond’s descent into pettiness upsets Isabel, for she had admired him so greatly before. She can still remember why she fell in love with him, and mourns the lesser man that he really is.
However this might be, Ralph could not resist so easy an opportunity. "Afraid of your husband?"
"Afraid of myself!" she said, getting up. She stood there a moment and then added: "If I were afraid of my husband that would be simply my duty. That's what women are expected to be."
"Ah yes," laughed Ralph; "but to make up for it there's always some man awfully afraid of some woman!" (48.13)
Isabel mechanically espouses the traditional idea that women ought to fear their husbands, while Ralph half-seriously reminds her again that men and women are not so very different.