The Secret History - Characters - Camilla Macaulay
"They looked very much alike,
with heavy dark-blond hair and
epicene faces as clear,
as cheerful and grave,
as a couple of Flemish angels."
CAMILLA (f) Feminine form of CAMILLUS. This was the name of a legendary warrior maiden of the Volscians, as told by Virgil in the 'Aeneid'.
Favorite ExcerptsAnd then there were a pair, boy and girl. I saw them together a great deal, and at first I thought they were boyfriend and girlfriend, until one day I saw them up close and realized they had to be siblings. Later I learned they were twins. They looked very much alike, with heavy dark-blond hair and epicene faces as clear, as cheerful and grave, as a couple of Flemish angels. And perhaps most unusual in the context of Hampden--where pseudo-intellects and teenage decadents abounded, and where black clothing was de regueur-- they liked to wear pale clothes, particularly white. In this swarm of cigarettes and dark sophistication they appeared here and there like figures from an allegory, or long-dead celebrants from some forgotten garden party.
Charles and Camilla are orphans (how I longed for this harsh fate!) reared by grandmothers and great-aunts in a house in Virginia: a childhood I like to think about, with horses and rivers and sweet-gum trees.
- Donna Tartt, The Secret History
CommentsIt's funny how people like camilla so much. There is a key text where Richard is talking of his weakness for Julian and his observation that Julian loved Beauty too much. Beauty was alright as far as it went but it was both superficial and ephemeral. This seems to be the the econcept for which Camilla is a metaphor - a bewitching gentle beauty, but ultimately a damaged and flawed person. When she came back from inspecting Bunny's dead body, her eyes were cold. Her beauty hid a sour ugliness within.
4:18 pm, sunday, november 20, 2005Honestly, Camilla just bugged me. Not because I found her "selfish" or anything like that, it was just because she wasn't anything other than the "damsel in distress" character. Sure, she didn't act like the typical damsel in distress, (She was pretty manipulative and independant for the damsel in distress character) lets face it, she was the damsel in distress. The whole "I'm abused by my brother because I'm in love with Henry!" thing. And not to mention the fact that the love of her life commited suicide, and she was left alone and became the old maiden with a "sad and disturbing past." I don't think that she was badly written or anything, I just don't like the damsel in distress characters.
7:56 pm, monday, october 10, 2005I love Camilla, though from afar. Camilla was the daughter of Horatius, one of whose brothers killed her fiance. My class pointed out the Charles-Camilla relationship that ended Britain's royal marriage. Also, the association with Celadon -- the color of a shawl or scarf of hers in one scene -- with the lover whose love, struck by a lightning bolt, died in his arms... - Don Riggs
2:09 pm, saturday, august 13, 2005People seem to be accusing Camilla of selfishness as though this were a bad thing. She's 20 years old, attractive, smart and wealthy. She's studied under one highly influencial man who taught her that beauty was free to make all kinds of demands. Forgive me for pointing out: one of the reasons why we love all these characters is their ability to be selfish. It's a trademark of their youth and the self-confidence they inspire in each other. Camilla, like Henry, sees herself privy to rights not all members of society are. She has the guts to be unapologetic. She's strong too, and distant. Like an ice-maiden. I really liked her. sybaryte
3:30 pm, tuesday, july 19, 2005Camilla seems like a great warrior and I love her name! - Camilla
1:15 pm, wednesday, april 13, 2005reading the secret history was amazing. camilla has a calm character at the beginning but at the end of the book it comes more and more out that she leads after henry the group. - nora
5:04 pm, monday, june 14, 2004camilla is my favorite "the secret history" character. she seems so bewitching, yet dangerous. like some kind of poisonous flower. oox daria
2:14 pm, monday, march 8, 2004Camilla was certainly a mystery. Although Richard was in love with her and considered her sweet, girlish and bewitching, he sometimes allowed us to get a nasty glimpse of another side of her character: manipulative, emotionless, cruel. She was the worst of them after Henry, I think: she used everybody in the group and watched the murder happen calm as a madonna: what kind of a person could that be? She was fascinating, like a Greek goddess in her beauty and mystery.
7:59 am, sunday, march 7, 2004Camilla was one who set herself back. Gave others the benefit. I see that in nobody today.
5:32 pm, thursday, november 27, 2003Camilla is devious and likes to play the males off against one another. Not somebody to be trusted cem
6:26 pm, friday, july 25, 2003Camilla was dangerous. Seductive, manipulative, able to present exactly what each person wanted to see, needed her to be. She lied without effort. Sociopathic. - Judy
9:28 pm, friday, january 24, 2003Camilla reminded me of Daisy Buchanan. Quiet, lovely, and born thoughtless as some are born without sight. I hated her for her shortsightedness and her lack of compassion. - Sarah Jane
3:48 pm, sunday, december 1, 2002The catalyst for it all? The eye of the storm? Manipulative you-know-what? All three and much more...
12:10 am, sunday, july 14, 2002She was beautifully written. Richard was so enchanted with her.