Study Guide

The Portrait of a Lady Characters

By Henry James

Isabel Archer

Isabel is – wow. She’s – huh? Isabel is – well, tough. She is a lot of...

Gilbert Osmond

One of the creepiest images in the novel is that of Osmond’s "beautiful mind" (42.5), which...

Madame Merle

Isabel once asks a very apt question: "Who are you? What are you?" Like Isabel herself, Madame...

Ralph Touchett

OK, yes, it’s definitely icky for first cousins to get married (not to mention illegal in...

Henrietta Stackpole

Henrietta Stackpole is just a laugh and a half, both intentionally and unintentionally....

Caspar Goodwood

Caspar Goodwood is the only character that we really have trouble getting to know; perhaps...

Mrs. Touchett

Crazy Aunt Lydia, as Isabel identifies her, really does seem to be somewhat batty, but it turns...

Mr. Touchett

Mr. Touchett isn’t around for too much of the novel, but he grows on us, and on Isabel,...

Lord Warburton

Lord Warburton, the blossom of the British Empire, the culmination of English manhood, the fruit...

Countess Gemini

Countess Gemini is not an important lady, but she thinks that she is. In reality, she’s a...

Pansy Osmond

We go back and forth on Pansy – we can’t decide if she’s adorable or eerie, or...

Edward Rosier

It’s no wonder Pansy chooses to fall in love with Edward Rosier – he shares many...

Mr. Bantling

We don’t get to know Mr. Bantling (soon to be Mr. Stackpole, in our minds) very well, but...

The Misses Molyneux

The two docile Misses Molyneux are Lord Warburton’s sisters (the name thing is a little...

Lilian Ludlow, née Archer

Lillian, the eldest of the three Archer sisters, is commonly perceived to be the "sensible" one...