Clara Copperfield is David's mother. She married his father (also named David) at a very young age, and never fully matures herself; she has no skill when it comes to managing the household, for instance, and she is prone to childish outbursts of temper when someone (typically her servant, Peggotty) draws attention to her more foolish decisions. She is basically good-natured, however, and leads a happy life until she meets Mr. Murdstone, who skillfully plays on her vanity and thoughtlessness in order to seduce her into marriage. Murdstone's attempts to teach his wife "firmness" quickly break her spirit, and although Clara outwardly complies with her husband's wishes, she becomes increasingly anxious and unhappy as time goes on. Her physical health declines after giving birth to a second child, and she dies while David is in his second term at Salem House. The loss of his mother, whom he had idolized, is deeply traumatizing for David, and Dickens implies that it plays a large role in his decision to marry Dora Spenlow—a woman whose personality closely resembles that of Clara Copperfield.