The Portrait of a Lady: Chapter 32 - Summary & Analysis

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Chapter XXXII


      Caspar Goodwood, for whom Isabel is waitings now visits her. He has come in response to Isabel’s letter to him. She had informed him of her decision to marry Osmond and Goodwood has come post-haste to ask Isabel to remind her that she had earlier given him hope. Isabel assures him in her cruelest tone that she is marrying a nonentity and that Goodwood should not try to take an interest in him. He promises to leave Florence immediately. Five minutes after he is gone, Isabel, bursts into tears.

Critical Analysis

      This chapter is a glaring contrast to the last chapter - this one is almost entirely dramatic, the previous one being fully descriptive. In that chapter the events are presented through Isabel’s musings. Here; there is direct confrontation between, the reader and the characters. We find Isabel at her cruelest. Goodwood takes Isabel’s decision to marry Osmond with “self-control” and “dumb misery” which arouses her “agitation”. The goodness of Goodwood’s character does not suffer any damage even here.

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