Study Guide

The Portrait of a Lady Three Act Plot Analysis

By Henry James

Three Act Plot Analysis

Act I

After Isabel Archer makes her appearance in England, Ralph convinces Mr. Touchett to leave the newly discovered cousin a large inheritance.

Act II

Isabel marries Osmond after Madame Merle introduces them. After two years of marriage, she is miserable and isolated from her friends and family.


Isabel breaks with Osmond, and decides to leave Rome for England, where Ralph is dying. Before she leaves, she visits Pansy at the convent. Isabel is faced with the choice to return to Osmond or flee with Caspar Goodwood.