The Portrait of a Lady

by

Henry James

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Caspar Goodwood Character Analysis

A savvy American businessman in the cotton-mill industry, Caspar Goodwood pursues Isabel Archer to England to ask for her hand in marriage. Isabel is greatly attracted by his forceful charisma, but she rejects his marriage proposal for fear their union would quash her independence. Goodwood is friends with Henrietta Stackpole and shares many of her personal qualities, for he is also ambitious, forthright, and progressive. His blunt behaviors contrast another of Isabel’s suitors, the typically English and aristocratic Lord Warburton. Goodwood remains committed to Isabel throughout her marriage to Gilbert Osmond, even scandalously suggesting that she abandon Osmond so that they can begin a new life overseas together.

Caspar Goodwood Quotes in The Portrait of a Lady

The The Portrait of a Lady quotes below are all either spoken by Caspar Goodwood or refer to Caspar Goodwood. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford edition of The Portrait of a Lady published in 2009.
Chapter 10 Quotes

“I like the great country stretching away beyond the rivers and across the prairies, blooming and smiling, and spreading till it stops at the green Pacific! A strong, sweet, fresh odour seems to rise from it, and Henrietta—pardon my simile—has something of that odour in her garments.”

[…]

“I’m not sure the Pacific’s so green as that,” he said; “but you’re a young woman of imagination. Henrietta, however, does smell of the Future—it almost knocks one down!”

Related Characters: Isabel Archer (speaker), Ralph Touchett (speaker), Caspar Goodwood, Henrietta Stackpole
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

In so far as the indefinable had an influence upon Isabel’s behaviour at this juncture, it was not the conception, even unformulated, of a union with Caspar Goodwood; for however she might have resisted conquest at her English suitor’s large quiet hands she was at least as far removed from the disposition to let the young man from Boston take positive possession of her. […] The idea of a diminished liberty was particularly disagreeable to her at present.

Page Number: 125-126
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

“If there’s a thing in the world I’m fond of,” she went on with a slight recurrence of grandeur, “it’s my personal independence.”

[…]

Isabel’s words, if they meant to shock him, failed of the mark and only made him smile with the sense that here was common ground. “Who would wish less to curtail your liberty than I? What can give me greater pleasure than to see you perfectly independent—doing whatever you like? It’s to make you independent that I want to marry you. […] An unmarried woman—a girl of your age—isn’t independent. There are all sorts of things she can’t do. She’s hampered at every step.”

Related Characters: Isabel Archer (speaker), Caspar Goodwood (speaker), Lord Warburton
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

“I’m not in my first youth—I can do whatever I choose—I belong quite to the independent class. I’ve neither father nor mother; I’m poor and of a serious disposition; I’m not pretty. I therefore am not bound to be timid and conventional; indeed I can’t afford such luxuries. Besides, I try to judge things for myself; to judge wrong, I think, is more honourable to not to judge at all. I don’t wish to be a mere sheep in the flock; I wish to choose my own fate and know something of human affairs beyond what other people think it compatible with propriety to tell me.”

Related Characters: Isabel Archer (speaker), Caspar Goodwood, Mrs. Touchett, Mr. Touchett
Page Number: 170
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 32 Quotes

“Is it a marriage your friends won’t like?” he demanded.

“I really haven’t an idea. As I say, I don’t marry for my friends.”

He went on, making no exclamation, no comment, only asking questions, doing it quite without delicacy. “Who and what then is Mr Gilbert Osmond?”

“Who and what? Nobody and nothing but a very good and very honourable man. He’s not in business,” said Isabel. “He’s not rich; he’s not known for anything in particular.”

Related Characters: Isabel Archer (speaker), Caspar Goodwood (speaker), Gilbert Osmond
Page Number: 327-328
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 55 Quotes

“Why shouldn’t we be happy—when it’s here before us, when it’s so easy? I’m yours for ever—for ever and ever. Here I stand; I’m as firm as a rock. What have you to care about? You’ve no children; that perhaps would be an obstacle. As it is you’ve nothing to consider. You must save what you can of your life; you mustn’t lose it all simply because you’ve lost a part. It would be an insult to you to assume that you care for the look of the thing, for what people will say, for the bottomless idiocy of the world. We’ve nothing to do with all that; we’re quite out of it; we look at things as they are. You took the great step in coming away; the next is nothing; it’s the natural one.”

Related Characters: Caspar Goodwood (speaker), Isabel Archer, Gilbert Osmond
Page Number: 580
Explanation and Analysis:
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Caspar Goodwood Character Timeline in The Portrait of a Lady

The timeline below shows where the character Caspar Goodwood appears in The Portrait of a Lady. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
While thinking about the possibility of Mrs. Touchett inviting Isabel to England, Caspar Goodwood arrives at the house. He is a Boston cotton-mill businessman and has been pursuing Isabel’s... (full context)
Chapter 11
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
Later, when the two are alone, Henrietta reveals to Isabel that Caspar Goodwood has traveled to England to connect with Isabel; in fact, they were on the same... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
Isabel spends the next few days in an anxious state of waiting to hear from Goodwood. One day, she is in the garden with Ralph’s dog when a servant interrupts to... (full context)
Chapter 13
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The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
Isabel’s thoughts change direction, considering Caspar Goodwood’s romantic intentions. She is no more inclined to marry Goodwood than she is to accept... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
Caspar Goodwood is a wealthy Boston gentleman who is son of a Massachusetts cotton-mill industry magnate. He... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
Despite Caspar Goodwood’s many attractive qualities, Isabel will not marry him. She notes that Lord Warburton is in... (full context)
The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
...Stackpole gets Ralph to walk in the garden with her. She charges him with inviting Goodwood to visit Gardencourt, suggesting that although Isabel has changed since arriving to England, Henrietta is... (full context)
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The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
Two days after writing an invitation to Caspar Goodwood, Ralph receives a response in which Goodwood thanks him but regrettably replies he cannot make... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
...and Isabel should travel to London together, with the journalist secretly wanting Isabel and Caspar Goodwood to connect there. Isabel is keen to experience more of England, agreeing to visit London,... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...she is actually expecting another visitor this evening. He suspects she will meet with Caspar Goodwood, although Isabel in unaware that he knows of her American suitor. Isabel in fact is... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...spend the evening in solitude, Isabel is surprised to receive a servant’s notice that Caspar Goodwood is waiting to see her at the inn. She instructs the waiter to let him... (full context)
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The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
Upon their meeting, Isabel asks how Goodwood knew where to find he in London. He replies that Henrietta informed him of their... (full context)
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The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
Isabel asks Goodwood why he is here, and he replies that he is intent upon their union, for... (full context)
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The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
Goodwood reiterates that he is “infernally in love” with Isabel. He strength of character means that... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
...English nobleman, trying to demonstrate that she is not being fickle in her treatment of Goodwood. She values her personal freedoms greatly and is going to travel Europe. Goodwood states that... (full context)
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
Isabel is also shocked when Goodwood reveals that, at Henrietta’s urging, Ralph previously invited him to visit Gardencourt. Isabel is appalled... (full context)
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The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
Caspar Goodwood takes his leave, refusing to give in to despair by convincingly affirming that he will... (full context)
Chapter 17
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The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
After dropping to her knees upon Goodwood’s exit from her rooms, Isabel is “not praying; she was trembling—trembling all over.” She is... (full context)
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The door opens, and Isabel rises with alarm, believing that Goodwood has returned. However, it is simply  Henrietta returning from her dinner with American friends. (full context)
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The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
Henrietta can see that her Isabel is in an unusual state, and quickly asks if Goodwood has visited. Isabel is frustrated by her friend’s numerous invasions of privacy regarding Caspar Goodwood.... (full context)
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...her pleasure at Mr. Bantling’s friendship and connections, as well as informing Ralph that Caspar Goodwood visited Isabel the previous evening. (full context)
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The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
Henrietta tells Ralph that she has no intention of letting Goodwood “give up” on Isabel, as she believes her friend really does like Goodwood and would... (full context)
 Chapter 21
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The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
At times, though, Isabel finds herself thinking back to her two suitors, Caspar Goodwood and Lord Warburton. She flatters and comforts herself of their true admiration for her character.... (full context)
Chapter 27
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
...all of her friends in Europe are so unlikeable. Henrietta had then exclaimed that Caspar Goodwood is so much better than the men in Europe. (full context)
Chapter 32
Female Independence vs. Marriage Theme Icon
The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
...young woman she was in Albany and Gardencourt.” Her visitor then arrives: it is Caspar Goodwood. He is upset and talks with forceful determination, explaining that he came to her as... (full context)
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The two have a heated discussion, both angry at one another—Goodwood upset at her betrayal, Isabel frustrated at his assumed possession of her and his response... (full context)
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The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
Isabel then changes tack and asks Goodwood if he has recently been in contact with Henrietta Stackpole. He states he has, although... (full context)
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Goodwood asks Isabel for some details about Osmond and their upcoming wedding. Isabel is almost aggrieved... (full context)
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The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
Goodwood states that he came to Florence to demand Isabel’s rationale for getting married, when she... (full context)
Chapter 33
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...when she does. Isabel had waited to tell her family until after she spoke with Goodwood, feeling obliged to hear his objections before informing everyone else of her impending marriage. (full context)
Chapter 44
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Art and Morality Theme Icon
While returning to her hotel in Florence, Henrietta leaves a note for Caspar Goodwood, who is also currently in the city. She asks that he visit her this evening.... (full context)
Chapter 47
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Three days pass. Henrietta Stackpole informs Isabel that Caspar Goodwood is currently in Rome. This brings up a lot of emotions for Isabel, who believes... (full context)
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The Dangers of Wealth Theme Icon
After first checking with Isabel, Caspar Goodwood visits the Osmond family home. Isabel hopes that he is long over his passion for... (full context)
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The European Old World vs. the American New World Theme Icon
Isabel asks Goodwood to visit Ralph at his hotel. The American businessman obliges her request, finding that Henrietta... (full context)
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Isabel is pleased and rather proud that Goodwood now also regularly visits Ralph, believing she has been “clever” in making Goodwood an unassuming... (full context)
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During this time of Henrietta and Goodwood visiting Rome, Isabel is frequented by strange nighttime dreams of Osmond and Madame Merle together.... (full context)
Chapter 48
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...his beloved home, Gardencourt. Henrietta offers to accompany him and care for him, as does Goodwood per his previous promise to Isabel. The businessman also believes he bores Isabel in Rome;... (full context)
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Goodwood visits Isabel at her home, where Osmond talks to him about the increased harmony that... (full context)
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Osmond also paints Goodwood as the true version of a modern man, and suggests that he find purpose in... (full context)
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Having waited some time so see Isabel privately, Goodwood is able to tell her that he does not want to leave her in Rome.... (full context)
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Goodwood is quite honest when he also reveals that he still loves Isabel. What’s more, he... (full context)
Chapter 54
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...the gallery. She spends her time in the gallery considering whether she would have married Caspar Greenwood if her aunt had never discovered her at her grandmother’s house in Albany, thus never... (full context)
Chapter 55
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...to Ralph. The funeral party includes Mrs. Touchett, Isabel, Henrietta Stackpole, Mr. Bantling, and Caspar Goodwood, with Isabel feeling distracted by the latter’s forceful presence. (full context)
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...garden. She recollects that she sat on the very same bench where she received Caspar Goodwood’s letter detailing his pursuit of Isabel to England, followed by Lord Warburton’s face-to-face encounter with... (full context)
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...garden for some time. Twilight is well upon her when she suddenly realizes that Caspar Goodwood is standing near her. She rises abruptly, but he grabs her hand and sits her... (full context)
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Goodwood tells her that he knows that Isabel is unhappy in her marriage to Gilbert Osmond,... (full context)
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Goodwood reiterates his life-long love for Isabel and scandalously suggests that he can offer her an... (full context)
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Crying, Isabel repeats her plea for Goodwood to leave. Instead, he glares at Isabel before embracing her in a passionate kiss. The... (full context)
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Two days later, Goodwood visits Henrietta Stackpole’s residence in London. The servants at Gardencourt have advised him that Isabel... (full context)