And Then There Were None

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Vera Claythorne Character Analysis

A schoolteacher who is invited to Soldier Island as a secretary. She is very practical and careful, but she is also a romantic. She fell in love with a man named Hugo while she was employed as a nanny for a young boy, Cyril Hamilton. Cyril's birth took away Hugo's chance at an inheritance and Hugo told Vera at one point that he would marry her if he still had money. Vera therefore allowed Cyril to swim out into the ocean too far and drown. She was not convicted because she swam out after him as if she were trying to save him. Yet Hugo knew the truth, so he went away and never spoke to Vera again. Vera is plagued with this guilt for the rest of her life until, after surviving to the very end of Soldier Island, she hangs herself.

Vera Claythorne Quotes in And Then There Were None

The And Then There Were None quotes below are all either spoken by Vera Claythorne or refer to Vera Claythorne. 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:
Justice Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harper edition of And Then There Were None published in 2011.
Chapter 2 Quotes

The faded blue eyes, shrewd in spite of their age, sized up Lombard. For a moment a judgment showed in them – had there been anyone to read it.

Related Characters: Philip Lombard (speaker), Vera Claythorne, Philip Lombard
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

As they wait for their taxi, Vera meets Lombard. She examines him closely, and both characters reveal deep skepticism of the other.

This interaction foreshadows the way that different characters will try to analyze each other’s behaviors and actions. Without any rationale, Vera is already paranoid about Lombard, while he similarly questions her role as a secretary. Their suspicions function as an analogy for what the reader of Christie’s novel is doing: gathering information about new characters to try to ultimately determine a suspect. Indeed her reference to “had there been anyone to read it” is a subtle wink to the novel’s reader—who, unlike the characters, can interpret such signals.

Christie's use of the word “them” is notably vague: it could refer to either Lombard or Vera’s eyes. In the first case, Vera would be seeing the judgment in Lombard’s eyes, while in the second, she would be revealing her own judgment. In a sense, both readings are correct, and Christie therefore uses a clever linguistic trick to establish an environment of deep suspicion and uncertainty among the characters, and even in the language of the text itself.

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The sea . . . So peaceful today – sometimes so cruel … The sea that dragged you down to its depth. Drowned … Found drowned … Drowned at sea … Drowned – drowned – drowned …

Related Characters: Vera Claythorne (speaker)
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

Vera reads the “Ten Little Soldier Boys” rhyme she finds in her bedroom. She connects the poem to the island’s name and then looks outside to the sea.

This passage makes use of a common literary device called the pathetic fallacy: This term refers to when a text attributes human emotions and behaviors to a natural object, in order to reveal the perspective of a character or a narrator. Here, for instance, Vera’s reference to the way the ocean can be “cruel” does not actually refer to its evil character, but rather to her own nature. The reference to drowning, after all, foreshadow what we will eventually learn of Vera’s past—that she was responsible for a drowned child—and what we will learn of her future—that she will ultimately commit suicide from guilt.

Thus Christie sneaks into this simple description an indication of Vera’s guilt, as well as her eventual suicide. Though this information is not yet accessible to the reader, Christie leaves a symbolic clue here. She turns the detective game into a psychological rather than factual one, in which the reader is tasked with interpreting the thoughts of characters to ascertain their guilt. And the text of the little soldier boys becomes a way, just as the text of the novel is, to visualize her crime and to hold her accountable for what she has done.

Chapter 5 Quotes

Why had Anthony Marston wanted to die? She didn't want to die.
She couldn't imagine wanting to die …
Death was for – the other people …

Related Characters: Vera Claythorne (speaker), Anthony Marston
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

After Macarthur describes his acceptance of dying on the island, the scene shifts to Vera. She expresses the opposite belief: a firm desire to stay alive.

Her question about Marston is perplexing here. Wondering “why” he “wanted to die” indicates that his demise was an active choice, rather than the result of a murder. Vera thus contends that death is a matter of individual agency rather than something occurring at the whims of another. This perspective foreshadows the way she will try to defend her own life later in the text, hoping to thwart the prophecy of the ten little soldiers. By juxtaposing her ardent resistance to death with Macarthur’s solemn acceptance, Christie shows the divergent ways that people conceive of and react to their guilt.

This passage is also an excellent example of how Christie gives the reader contradictory and confusing information on the guilt of the characters. Although Vera’s belief that death was for “the other people” might seem to cast her as the murderer, her belief that Anthony willed his own death implies that she does not actually know what is causing the murders. Thus Christie maintains dramatic tension through two seemingly contradictory sets of clues.

Chapter 10 Quotes

“I know very well that I'm not the murderer, and I don't fancy there's anything insane about you, Vera. You strike me as being one of the sanest most levelheaded girls I've come across. I'd stake my reputation on your sanity.

Related Characters: Philip Lombard (speaker), Vera Claythorne
Page Number: 168
Explanation and Analysis:

The characters have concluded that one of them must be the murderer but that there is no way to know who it could be. Vera asks Lombard who he suspects, and he responds that he believes it not to be her.

Although he lacks a rational reason to trust Vera, Lombard seems to confide in her entirely. His explanation focuses exclusively on her “sanity,” implying that he thinks the murders must be the result of mental instability. As a result, determining the psychological health of each character becomes of utmost importance, for the guilty person would be the most unstable. Just as Miss Brent offered the religious explanation of being possessed by the devil, Lombard relies on psychological analyses.

Despite this emphasis on mental stability, Lombard and Vera’s behavior is actually deeply irrational. They have no real reason to trust each other and seem to do so largely as a response to a stressful environment in which no other option for support is available. Thus even as Lombard asserts Vera’s steadiness, their interaction also foreshadows the way that these characters will become increasingly unstable—ever more likely to behave rashly as their paranoia grows.

Chapter 14 Quotes

They'd believe her all right. Cyril often told stories. He was an untruthful child. Cyril would know, of course. But that didn't matter … and anyway nothing would go wrong. She'd pretend to swim out after him. But she'd arrive too late … Nobody would ever suspect …
Had Hugo suspected? Was that why he had looked at her in that queer far-off way? … Had Hugo known?

Related Characters: Vera Claythorne (speaker)
Page Number: 230
Explanation and Analysis:

Alone in her room, Vera remembers the events leading up to Cyril’s death. She recalls worrying that her murder attempt would be unsuccessful.

This interior monologue marks a decisive shift in Vera’s character. Whereas before the reader has only scant knowledge about the crime she has committed, here the true nature of her murder becomes horrifyingly clear: She was responsible for the death of a child. Even more alarmingly, what she recalls is not guilt or uncertainty about the crime—but rather fear of being caught. Thus Vera’s previously sympathetic character becomes increasingly diabolical, perhaps even deserving of the murder that, at this point in the novel, seems like it might possibly be her fate.

Even so, Vera seems to now be experiencing remorse for what she has done. That she was previously able to exclude these thoughts from the narrative shows how the events transpiring at Soldiers Island are causing her mindset to shift. She is increasingly forced to confront the nature of her crime, pointing to the efficacy of host’s plan to bring the characters to moral justice.

Chapter 15 Quotes

“But don't you see, he's mad? It's all mad! The whole thing of going by the rhyme is mad! Dressing up the judge, killing Rogers when he was chopping sticks – drugging Mrs. Roberts so that she overslept herself – arranging for a bumble bee when Miss Brent died! It's like some horrible child playing a game. It's all got to fit in.”

Related Characters: Vera Claythorne (speaker), Justice Wargrave, Thomas Rogers, Ethel Rogers
Page Number: 248
Explanation and Analysis:

Blore and Lombard continue to fixate on the revolver, but Vera becomes frustrated with their narrow-mindedness. She argues that each of the murders must fit into the ten little soldiers nursery rhyme in some way.

Vera’s impassioned tone shows how a sense of desperation has sunk into the characters at this point. Overwhelmed with false clues and misinformation, they have become increasingly disoriented and uncertain in how to proceed. Ironically, Vera exclaims repeatedly about madness even as she herself is becoming less mentally hinged. She thus comes to mimic the manic role of the murderer, a pattern followed by many of the characters.

Perhaps due to this increased similarity, her assertions actually interpret quite accurately the murderer’s intentions. Whereas Blore and Lombard are focused on traditional symbols in a murder case like the revolver, Vera is attentive to the specific conditions of this event. She correctly links each murder to a line in the poem and demands that each event has “got to fit in” to the metaphorical whole. That Christie makes symbolic interpretation of the poem the key to solving the murder further renders Vera an analog to a good reader of the novel.

Chapter 16 Quotes

“Why did I never see his face properly before? A wolf – that's what it is – a wolf's face … Those horrible teeth …”

Related Characters: Vera Claythorne (speaker), Philip Lombard
Page Number: 262
Explanation and Analysis:

After seeing the dead body of Dr. Armstrong, Vera and Lombard both believe each other to be the killer. Vera looks with new eyes at Lombard and perceives an entirely different person.

Christie shows, here, just how radically the characters’ apprehensions of each other shift based on their psychological states. Though Lombard’s actual facial features have, of course, not changed, Vera identifies him in starkly different terms. Her use of the term “properly” implies a level of objectivity, asserting these to be his actual features—and thus showing how unaware Vera is of how warped her reality has become. That his features are animalistic, in particular, highlights that the characters have continued to shed their human qualities as the story has developed. Indeed, Vera adopts similar imagery as Lombard himself did while describing his own senses to become like a predator as he crept through the darkened house. That they both simultaneously use this language demonstrates how pervasive this animalism has become to the interior symbolism of the text. Thus it is not only the result of Vera’s psychological deterioration, but also a metaphorical structure employed by Christie to show how humans regress to a state of pure survival.

How very quiet the house was. And yet –it didn't seem like an empty house …
Hugo, upstairs, waiting for her …

Related Characters: Vera Claythorne (speaker)
Page Number: 268
Explanation and Analysis:

After killing Lombard, Vera returns to the silent house. She feels as if someone else is present and imagines it to be her former beloved, Hugo.

These lines show how Vera’s mental state has continued to degrade in the wake of the murders. She now seems to be fully hallucinating, believing that the house is not “empty” despite how “quiet” it is. By juxtaposing Vera's belief that the house is occupied with her actual hearing (i.e. its quietness), Christie emphasizes just how unstable Vera has become. Meanwhile, Vera's thoughts gravitate, in particular, to Hugo, the man who moved her to commit murder, verifying that the events on Soldiers Island force the characters to confront their past misdeeds. That she imagines Hugo is “waiting for her” demonstrates that Vera believes her life to still be scripted by the ten little soldiers poem: Christie demonstrates that in her deeply fraught existence, Vera has come to see the poem as a kind of prophetic text—which will dictate her destiny.

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Vera Claythorne Character Timeline in And Then There Were None

The timeline below shows where the character Vera Claythorne appears in And Then There Were None. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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Vera Claythorne is riding the same train in third class and looks over a letter from... (full context)
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Details from Vera's past come back: how nice Mrs. Hamilton was to her, Hugo, and Cyril's head bobbing... (full context)
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Philip Lombard looks at Vera from across the carriage and thinks her an attractive and practical looking girl. He is... (full context)
Chapter 2
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...the train station. The guests start to introduce themselves to each other. Lombard remarks to Vera that it seems strange that she is taking up a secretarial post in the middle... (full context)
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Vera is brought into her room by Mr. Rogers's wife, Mrs. Rogers who Vera thinks looks... (full context)
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Vera thinks that it's strange the Rogers have never seen Mr. Owen. She also thinks that... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...Anthony Marston comments on the small soldier figurines placed in the middle of the table. Vera points out that they must be connected to the nursery rhyme in her bedroom and... (full context)
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Miss Brent and Vera get up and everyone follows them to the drawing room. Vera says that it must... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Vera explains that she had been a governess to Cyril Hamilton. One day Cyril swam off... (full context)
Chapter 5
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In her own bed, Vera thinks about Hugo, who said that he couldn't marry her because he didn't have enough... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Everyone is downstairs for breakfast at nine o'clock. Vera and Lombard had walked up to the summit of the island to look down at... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Vera and Emily Brent go for a walk to the summit of the island to look... (full context)
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Vera asks if this means that Miss Brent believes the others are guilty. Brent says that... (full context)
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Vera is horrified by this story but Miss Brent feels no guilt or remorse. She says... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Miss Brent sits on the porch knitting and Vera avoids her. Wargrave also sits on the porch and when Vera looks at him she... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Miss Brent comes in and says it looks like a storm is coming. Vera apologizes for coming in late, but Miss Brent responds that General Macarthur still has not... (full context)
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...has been eating for a bit Armstrong comes running and shouts that General Macarthur is—and Vera finishes his sentence—“Dead!” (full context)
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As the men come back in with Macarthur's body, the storm breaks. Vera goes into the dining room, followed soon after by Rogers. They are both checking the... (full context)
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Vera is shocked but Miss Brent believes that Wargrave's theory is true: one of them is... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Vera asks Lombard to wake her up so she can realize that this is all a... (full context)
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Vera says she can't see Lombard as the murderer either. Lombard thinks that it is Wargrave... (full context)
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Vera thinks that it is Dr. Armstrong because two of the deaths have both been by... (full context)
Chapter 11
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They check the dining room where Rogers has laid the table for breakfast. But Vera notices that there are only 6 china figures on the table. (full context)
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Afterwards they all discuss the murder and Vera starts laughing crazily. She asks if there are bees on the island and everyone stares... (full context)
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Blore comments to Lombard that he finds it suspicious that Vera cracked up and then immediately calmed down, and that Miss Brent always seems utterly calm... (full context)
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Vera is in the kitchen making breakfast and scolding herself for becoming hysterical earlier. She starts... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...all meet in the drawing room in a half an hour to discuss the situation. Vera begins clearing the plates and Miss Brent gets up to help her but feels too... (full context)
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Everyone else is in the drawing room waiting for Miss Brent to come in. Vera volunteers to go get her, but Blore asks her to wait a moment, explaining that... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Vera asks if anyone wants tea and they all decide that they should watch her make... (full context)
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It is only 6:20pm but Vera can't handle it anymore so she decides to go upstairs and take a bath. As... (full context)
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The men run upstairs as Vera keeps screaming and she opens her eyes so see all the men around her. She... (full context)
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All of a sudden Vera asks where Wargrave is. They realize he didn't follow them up the stairs and go... (full context)
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Lombard remarks that Wargrave's act of playing court is over. Vera says that just this morning Lombard thought that Wargrave was the murderer. Lombard agrees that... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...Wargrave's body up to bed, they all stand around the kitchen eating canned tongue mechanically. Vera comments that she will never eat tongue again. (full context)
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They go over the fact that the seaweed was planted in Vera's room to get them all up there so they would be distracted. Lombard says that... (full context)
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Vera thinks that she could just stay in her room for a day or two until... (full context)
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Vera, back in the present, wonders why she felt like Hugo was in the room with... (full context)
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There is no answer on Armstrong's door, Lombard responds at once as does Vera. Blore explains to Lombard and they go check on Armstrong's room where they realize that... (full context)
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Vera, meanwhile, distracts herself by trying to invent ways that Armstrong could try to trick her.... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...now is lock up the revolver and both Lombard and Blore can hold a key. Vera says that they are both acting like idiots and have forgotten the rhyme. “Four little... (full context)
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But Blore says that they searched the island and Armstrong wasn't there. Vera brings up that they couldn't find the revolver before – everything has fit with the... (full context)
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...referencing the next verse, Blore says that there is no zoo on the island. But Vera says “Don't you see? We're the Zoo … Last night, we were hardly human anymore.... (full context)
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...on the mainland noticed. They search the island again and see no sign of Armstrong. Vera says she feels safer outside and they agree to stay out of the house for... (full context)
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Vera feels almost happy in the sunlight. She feels like she can't die. Blore says he... (full context)
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Lombard starts to tell Vera that Blore's story about Armstrong and the footsteps clears both of them, but it doesn't... (full context)
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...revolver he is going to take good care that Blore doesn't get them. He asks Vera why she trusts that he won't just shoot her and Vera says that she has... (full context)
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Vera says she once heard a story about two judges in a small American town that... (full context)
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...white marble shaped like a bear – the one that was on the mantelpiece in Vera's room. (full context)
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...in the house and that he is going to go in and find him. But Vera stops Lombard and says that this is probably what Armstrong wants them to do. (full context)
Chapter 16
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Vera and Lombard slowly look up at each other. They realize that there is no one... (full context)
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Lombard says that this is the end. He says it almost with acceptance, but Vera only feels rebellion. She says “Poor Dr. Armstrong.” Vera says that they should carry him... (full context)
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As they get him past the reach of the sea, Lombard asks if Vera is satisfied and she says she is. She shows him his revolver, which she took... (full context)
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Vera feels relieved. She realizes that she is hungry and sleepy, but mostly sleepy. She walks... (full context)
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Vera remembers the last verse of the nursery rhyme “one little soldier boy left all alone;... (full context)
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The little china figure rolls out of Vera's hand. She is standing in the place where she was when she felt Cyril's cold... (full context)
Epilogue 1
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...head was split open, Blore's head was crushed, Armstrong drowned, Macarthur's skull was fractured, and Vera was hanged. (full context)
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They do have some evidence from the diaries kept on the island by Vera, Emily Brent and some notes by Wargrave and Blore. The death occurred in this order:... (full context)
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...that Armstrong's body was dragged above the high water line. Then the people left were Vera, Blore and Lombard. (full context)
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...the revolver was found in Wargrave's room with fingerprints on it. Then it seems like Vera could have pushed the statue on Blore, shot Lombard and hung herself. But there is... (full context)
Epilogue 2
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...red mud on his forehead and Armstrong pronounced him dead after all the fuss with Vera screaming in her room. (full context)
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...to the house, Wargrave pushed the marble clock onto him. From the window he watched Vera shoot Lombard and then wondered excitedly whether she would play into the stage he set... (full context)
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...would she cave to her own guilt? He thought she would and he was right. Vera hanged herself in front of Wargrave's eyes as he hid behind the wardrobe. He then... (full context)