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Series / Isaura the Slave (2004)

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Isaura the Slave (original title: A Escrava Isaura) is a 2004 telenovela based on Bernardo Guimaraes' book of the same name.

It is centered on the difficulties faced by a sweet-hearted white slave in the Brazilian colonial period, targeted by the obsession of her lord.


  • Actor Allusion: André mentions Xica da Silva. Deo Garcez (his actor) participated in the 1996 version of the story.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Rosa is incredibly friendly to people who has not wronged her or who has no issue against, but she is jealous and vindictive when she wants to be.
    • Raimundo is otherwise very friendly and far less evil than Seu Chico or Martinho, but still was an accomplice of them. He ocassionally gave the slaves water or showed concern for them.
  • Amicable Exes: Helena and Gabriel eventually adapt to the idea that they cannot be in a romance and get along well as siblings.
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  • Arranged Marriage: This series decidedly deconstructed them, since the involved parts never "learnt to love" their forced significant others.
  • Beautiful Slave Girl: The titular character. Even though she looks white enough to pass for an European woman herself, she is actually half-white due to her mother being of African descent and her status as a slave being inherited. Her unusual looks and her position end up attracting the lascivious interests of her master Leôncio.
  • Beard of Evil: Seu Chico has a deep beard and is cruel with the slaves he rules on.
  • Benevolent Boss: Joao and Joaquina were very thankful of Colonel Sebastiao's treatment.
  • Cousin Oliver: Pedrinho was an orphan child added to the cast when Miguel and Isaura take false identities.
  • December–December Romance: Colonel Sebastiao and Gioconda fully resume their romance.
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  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the book, Leoncio commits suicide after Alvaro buys the house. In the series, Leoncio is instead killed by someone while he intended to rape Isaura in a slaughterhouse.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Leoncio whips a slave to death just because she was hungry and stole something of the kitchen.
  • Dream-Crushing Handicap: Tomasia wanted to be a mother with all her heart, but after Leoncio throws her from the stairs, her miscarriage makes her unable to bear children again. This leads her to become his sworn enemy
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Isaura eventually becomes the owner of the Commander's hacienda.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The one person Leoncio seemed to love was his father, but just because he was mostly permissive. He wept after his death, but was not saddened enough to change his ways.
  • Evil All Along: Paulo Pereira was revealed to be a malicious doctor that deliberately caused his patients to die and stole from them.
  • Eviler than Thou: Commander Almeida at least had some respect for Gertrudes and ultimately repented. Leoncio becomes completely ruthless with the slaves and with pretty much everyone else.
  • Forgiveness: The penultimate episode has Isaura forgive Rosa.
  • Happily Married:
    • Bernardo and Muleca are a loving and healthy couple.
    • Isaura and Alvaro are stated to have a happy marriage and have some children when the series ends.
  • Heroic Bastard: Isaura, a perfect character, was conceived from a relationship between Miguel and Juliana, who were not married. Gabriel is kindhearted, but was NOT a son of Albuquerque but of Colonel Sebastiao, which made his relationship with Helena impossible.
  • Hospital Hottie: Diogo Alves' handsome looks were commented after his introduction.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Leoncio's failure to attract Isaura's desire motivates him to abuse her and attempt to kill her several times. It seems she was the first woman to tell him no and he was persisting on having her.
  • Let's Wait Awhile: Alvaro eventually asks Isaura to have sex with him, but Isaura declines because they are not married at the moment.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Andre, Herique, Diogo and Alvaro are all handsome and show off their physique ocassionally. Ariski was a good-looking Native man who was barely dressed.
  • My Fist Forgives You: When Henrique apologizes to Tomasia for not believing her about Leoncio, she gives him a Bitch Slap before accepting his apology.
  • Multiple Endings: In the whodunnit arc, the one who murdered Leoncio was different according to the release. The culprits were Seu Chico, Rosa or Belquior.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Isaura is always kind to anyone.
    • Perpetua, Alvaro's mother, tends to be polite and friendly as well.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Alvaro tries to flirt with Isaura by working shirtless, but she does not fall for it despite loving Alvaro.
  • Parents as People:
    • Gertrudes was a loving Parental Substitute for Isaura and even made her the saintly woman of the series, but she was negligent on giving Isaura her Slave Liberation. When her husband attempts to do it, various circumstances and Leoncio's meddling interfere with it.
    • Coonel Sebastiao loves his children, but his misguided attempts to force them into marriage put one of them at risk.
  • Pocket Protector: In one murder attempt to Alvaro, he was saved by a metal cross.
  • Police Are Useless: Tomasia thinks so since they did not arrest Leoncio for throwing her off the stairs and making her miscarry.
  • Rape as Backstory: Rosa was raped by Seu Chico, and André left her.
  • Redeeming Replacement: Diogo is far more moral than Doctor Paulo Pereira, who lied to his clients and stole their belongings.
  • Remake Cameo: The actors portraying Commander Almeida and Gertrudes portrayed Leoncio and Malvina in the previous adaptation.
  • The Reveal:
    • Paulo Pereira is more than an ineffectual doctor. He outright harms his patients and steals from them.
    • The last chapter reveals who murdered Leoncio.
  • Second Love:
    • Since Gabriel and Helena's relationship turns out to be impossible, Helena becomes smitten with Diogo while Gabriel falls in love with Perpetua.
    • Tomasia becomes the wife of Count of Campos and later Miguel.
    • Muleca gives up on André and lives happily with Bernardo.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Colonel Sebastiao forced Helena to marry Doctor Paulo, with the threat of forcing her to become a nun. Since the man he intended as a son-in-law turns out to be evil, this backfires greatly.
  • The Show of the Books: The second telenovela that adapts Bernardo Guimaraes' book, but has a whodunnit at the ending.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: The only person Isaura seems attracted to was Alvaro.
  • Spanner in the Works: The assassination plot on Diogo was thwarted by Ariski, who found him and healed him.
  • Staircase Tumble: Leoncio throws Tomasia from stairs at the Hacienda, which makes her miscarry and become barren. This started the wish of revenge from Tomasia, who would latter fake to be in love with him to throw him from the stairs.
  • Surprise Incest:
    • It turns out Gabriel and Helena are siblings. Luckily for them, there was no sexual intercourse while they were dating.
    • Henrique was flirty with Rosa, unaware that she was another daughter of Coloner Sebastiao. When it is revealed, Rosa doesn't miss the chance to tease him for it.
  • Taking the Heat:
    • On Doctor Paulo's death, Diogo falsely confesses to be the culprit until Helena confesses to be the real culprit.
    • When Isaura was accused of murdering Leoncio and the real culprit was yet to be found, Alvaro decides to take the blame for her.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After being barren and rejected, Tomasia gets to marry the Count of Campos (who fell in love with her after seeing her standing up against Leoncio) and become rich.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Miguel is friendly to the slaves, but he is substituted by Chico as a foreman. Chico is not kind with the slaves at all.
  • Uncertain Doom: In the finale, Rosa may or may have not committed suicide.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole: Leoncio was stabbed by someone and Isaura is left as the murderer despite being innocent and would be legitimate defense if she did. This mystery was done to pad out the story.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: In the original ending Rosa earns the love of his father and is let to care for his family's hacienda, but Andre flatly rejects her. In the end, it is implied Rosa commits suicide.
  • Woman Scorned: After Tomasia was dumped and made unable to bear children, she starts a campaign of revenge against Leoncio.