Isabel Archer: A Romantic Idealist
An Analysis on Her Tragedy From the Perspective of Hamatia

Wei HE


The Portrait of a Lady is one of Henry James’ masterpieces. Isabel Archer, its heroin, is frequently labeled as a lady in pursuit of freedom. But at the end of this novel, she chooses to go back to Osmond after knowing the truth of her marriage, which surprises many readers. Why Archer, a lady in pursuit of her own way of living, is willing to endure a marriage without love. This thesis probes into Isabel Archer’s living environment and education background to analyze her character hamatia, which results in her special view of the world, a romantic idealist living in her imaginary world. In another way, her ideal notion results in her tragic life, which leads her to continues to live in her own imaginary world.




The Portrait of a Lady; Romantic idealism; Imaginary world; Hamatia

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