The Portrait of a Lady: Chapter 45 - Summary & Analysis

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      Isabel had not as yet undertaken to act in direct opposition to Osmond’s wishes. The idea of defying him filled her with shame and dread. However, she visits Ralph “discreetly” before Osmond’s “prohibition would come”. She has also an inquiry to make—whether Warburton loves Pansy. Ralph’s reply is a firm negative. She, feels helpless but pretends to be undisturbed. Their meeting ends and Isabel comes back home.

      She had made up her mind to speak to Pansy and went to her room before dinner. Pansy admits that she loves Rosier and asks for Isabel’s advice. Isabel tells her that she should try to please her father. She also tells her that Lord Warburton might propose to her and Osmond would like the match very much. Pansy is assured that Warburton would not propose to her as he was very “kind”. Yet she should like Lord Warburton to keep up the pretense of courting her, so that her father might not think of somebody else as her suitor. Her ‘illumination’ reassures Isabel that Pansy could look after herself.

Critical Analysis

      Pansy has apparently reached a decision : if she cannot marry Rosier she will not marry at all. Words like “plot”, “mask”, “plan”, “intrigue” and “pretence” indicate that as Gilbert Osmond and Madame Merle had “duped” Isabel, each character in this chapter wears a mask to “dupe” someone else.

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