The Portrait of a Lady: Chapter 27 - Summary & Analysis

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Chapter XXVII


      On reaching Rome, Isabel found her imagination fired by the monuments of Rome. She simply soaked herself in the atmosphere of antiquity which pervaded Rome. One day on an excursion through the Forum with her friends, she accidentally meets Lord Warburton. She feels jubilant in her power over the Lord. She extracts a promise from him not to bring up a new proposal in the near future.

      One Sunday afternoon, they visited St. Peter’s Cathedral. They studied vastness of the Cathedral which appealed to Isabel as a perfect vehicle for her own soaring imagination. At the church, Isabel runs into Osmond and greets him by telling that others too have come. He replies that he has not come for others.

      Meanwhile Ralph and Warburton muse on Isabel’s prospects with Osmond.

Critical Analysis

      As Isabel’s thoughts touch new heights, she is reminded again of her recent past just as the monuments in Rome have placed her adventures thoroughly in the light of history.

     Henrietta’s truculent parochialism in comparing everything in Rome to American things invites notice. The comic aspect of “the international situation” does not escape James’s eye at a dramatic moment in the novel.

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