House of Names: A Novel Quotes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 75 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of House of Names.
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I have been acquainted with the smell of death.
-- Clytemnestra (chapter 1)

Importance: The speaker here is Clytemnestra, who reflects, in hindsight, on the “sickly, sugary smell” of death (3). She speaks, of course, of Agememnon’s corpse that hangs above the palace gates. But equally does this sentiment reflect upon Tóibín’s source material: upon the “smell” that permeates the House of Atreus due to its plague – that kin shall forever kill kin, until the cycle is broken and purged by Athene. Thus does Tóibín utilize the first sentence in his novel to simultaneously pay homage to the stories that came before his, and metonymize Clytemnestra’s experience following the death of her husband.

I know as no one else knows that the gods are distant, they have other concerns. They care about human desires and antics in the same way that I care about the leaves of a tree...
-- Clytemnestra (chapter 1)

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This section contains 2,317 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the House of Names: A Novel Study Guide
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