Isabella was one of the stock characters in 17th and 18th century Italian commedia dell'arte, the inamorata, often the daughter or wife of the buffoonish Pantalone. She may have taken her name originally from Isabella Andreini (1562 - 1604), one of the first and greatest actresses of the genre. Although the name was in common use (Rossini's first wife and the creator of ten of his contralto roles was Isabella Colbran), no one at the time could have missed the obvious connection with commedia dell'arte, a basic part of the lineage of opera buffa.
Isabella is a stock character used in Commedia dell'arte. She is generally portrayed as headstrong, flirtatious, sensuous, and articulate. She is typically depicted as Pantalone's daughter and he often tries to control her life by arranging meetings with inappropriate overaged gentlemen suitors.