The Dead

Gretta Conroy Character Analysis

Gabriel’swife, a good-natured and kind woman. She does not hate Dublin as Gabriel does, and finds his interest in things like galoshes to be ridiculous. She reveals the story of her first love, Michael Furey, to Gabriel on the night of the party. Gretta believes that Michael died for her sake, and for this reason, she is also distracted by the past and unable to focus on finding love and passion in the present.

Gretta Conroy Quotes in The Dead

The The Dead quotes below are all either spoken by Gretta Conroy or refer to Gretta Conroy. 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:
Jealousy and Male Pride Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of The Dead published in 1993.
Section 2 Quotes

It was she who had chosen the names for her sons for she was very sensible of the dignity of family life. Thanks to her, Constantine was now senior curate in Balbriggan and, thanks to her, Gabriel himself had taken his degree in the Royal University. A shadow passed over his face as he remembered her sullen opposition to his marriage.

Related Characters: Gabriel Conroy, Gretta Conroy, Gabriel’s Mother, Constantine
Page Number: 187
Explanation and Analysis:

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Section 3 Quotes

Their children, his writing, her household cares had not quenched their souls’ tender fire. In one letter that he had written to her then he had said: Why is it that words like these seem to me so dull and cold? Is it because there is no word tender enough to be your name?

Related Characters: Gabriel Conroy, Gretta Conroy
Related Symbols: Snow
Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:

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Was she annoyed, too, about something? If she would only turn to him or come to him of her own accord! To take her as she was would be brutal. No, he must see some ardour in her eyes first. He longed to be master of her strange mood.

Related Characters: Gabriel Conroy, Gretta Conroy
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:

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While he had been full of memories of their secret life together, full of tenderness and joy and desire, she had been comparing him in her mind with another…He saw himself as a ludicrous figure, acting as a pennyboy for his aunts, a nervous well-meaning sentimentalist, orating to vulgarians and idealizing his own clownish lusts…

Related Characters: Gabriel Conroy, Gretta Conroy
Page Number: 221
Explanation and Analysis:

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I think he died for me, she answered. A vague terror seized Gabriel at this answer as if, at that hour when he had hoped to triumph, some impalpable and vindictive being was coming against him, gathering forces against him in its vague world.

Related Characters: Gretta Conroy (speaker), Gabriel Conroy
Page Number: 221–222
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Gretta Conroy Character Timeline in The Dead

The timeline below shows where the character Gretta Conroy appears in The Dead. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 1
Jealousy and Male Pride Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Women and Society Theme Icon
...Malins, who often arrives late and drunk. When Gabriel finally arrives, along with his wife Gretta, Lily takes his coat, which is covered with snow from outside. Lily asks if it... (full context)
Jealousy and Male Pride Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Ireland, Anti-Nationalism, and the Foreign Theme Icon
Julia, Kate, and Gretta interrupt Gabriel’s thoughts as they exit the dressing room. Aunt Julia’s face and hair are... (full context)
Jealousy and Male Pride Theme Icon
Ireland, Anti-Nationalism, and the Foreign Theme Icon
Women and Society Theme Icon
Gabriel and Gretta’s conversation with Julia and Kate is interrupted by the arrival of Freddy Malins. Aunt Kate... (full context)
Section 2
Nostalgia and the Past vs. the Present Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Women and Society Theme Icon
...his and Constantine’s accomplishments to his mother, but resents his mother’s lack of respect for Gretta. Gabriel lets his hostility go as Mary Jane ends her performance. (full context)
Jealousy and Male Pride Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Ireland, Anti-Nationalism, and the Foreign Theme Icon
Women and Society Theme Icon
Gretta joins Gabriel after the dance, and when he says Miss Ivors invited them both on... (full context)
Jealousy and Male Pride Theme Icon
Women and Society Theme Icon
...way to the dining room, Gabriel sees Miss Ivors putting on her coat to leave. Gretta and Mary Jane are trying to convince her to stay, and since she continues to... (full context)
Section 3
Nostalgia and the Past vs. the Present Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Ireland, Anti-Nationalism, and the Foreign Theme Icon
...that Mr. Browne is all too available and none too useful. As Gabriel waits for Gretta to get her coat, Mary Jane remarks once again how cold the men look, and... (full context)
Jealousy and Male Pride Theme Icon
Nostalgia and the Past vs. the Present Theme Icon
Women and Society Theme Icon
...gazing up the staircase at a woman in the shadows. He realizes the woman is Gretta, leaning on the banister and listening to piano music coming from above. The others come... (full context)
Jealousy and Male Pride Theme Icon
Nostalgia and the Past vs. the Present Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
...dark, with a dull light coming up over the houses and the river. Gabriel watches Gretta walking next to Mr. D’Arcy and feels sudden tenderness towards her. He begins reflecting back... (full context)
Jealousy and Male Pride Theme Icon
Nostalgia and the Past vs. the Present Theme Icon
Women and Society Theme Icon
Gretta and Gabriel get out of the cab, and as she leans on him for support... (full context)
Jealousy and Male Pride Theme Icon
Nostalgia and the Past vs. the Present Theme Icon
While Gabriel is recounting an unremarkable story, Gretta suddenly kisses him tenderly on the lips. Gabriel feels a rush of confidence, hoping that... (full context)
Jealousy and Male Pride Theme Icon
Nostalgia and the Past vs. the Present Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Gabriel asks if Gretta wanted to go to Galway with Miss Ivors in order to visit this boy, and... (full context)
Jealousy and Male Pride Theme Icon
Nostalgia and the Past vs. the Present Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Gabriel is seized with terror when Gretta tells him that the boy, Michael Furey, died for his love for her. Michael was... (full context)
Jealousy and Male Pride Theme Icon
Nostalgia and the Past vs. the Present Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Gabriel continues to watch Gretta, and sees her as though for the first time. He thinks about how soon he... (full context)