The Netflix show House of Cards is replete with symbolism throughout. While some symbolic events are more obvious (Claire observing an older woman similar to a colleague she fired struggling at a cafe job comes to mind), others are less so.

Near the end of the third episode ("Chapter 3"), Claire notices some young people making out in the cemetery. She pauses and smiles, but we get no further reaction. In a show laden with symbolism, and an episode reaching its conclusion, this event surely means something.

What do the young people making out in the cemetery symbolize?

7 Answers 7


Earlier in the episode, Claire was running through the cemetery when she was berated by a woman, who said, "You shouldn't run here, it's disgraceful. Have you no respect?"

Knowing the character, Claire's pride would have been dented by having been spoken down to in public in that way. She's a person used to getting her own way. My understanding of the scene with the couple making out is that it pleased Claire to see people misusing the cemetery in a way that she knew would be even more abhorent to the woman who berated her than simply running through it.

Put simply: it's one in the eye for the woman who dared to criticise Claire.

  • +1 There we go. I thought it may be something along those lines but thought it may be something deeper than that. This works for me.
    – stevvve
    Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 17:26
  • 3
    While that answer makes sense, I'm not completely sure Claire's only reaction to the woman's complaint is hurt pride. She also seemed moved on a different level, given that she didn't want to enter the cemetery when jogging there the other day (which pride should have prompted her to do even more, I think).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 21:12
  • Claire definitely doesn't care about what people tell her, about her, or behind her back. "If I let the things people say about me get under my skin, I wouldn't be able to leave my own home" - S02E12.
    – Anna
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 15:30

Running through the cemetery is an example of Claire pursuing an objective with utter disregard for what surrounds her. The old woman is a reality check (and maybe the beginning of a slow transformation in Claire -- I'm guessing, as I'm only on ep. 3). When we see her again, she's walking in the cemetery. That in itself is a show of respect. That she smiles at the young couple shows that she still has the ability -- however buried -- for empathy. At least for me! Being optimistic maybe :p


In true Lady Macbeth style, Claire is driven by naked ambition, both for herself and her husband Frank.

She has no compunction about getting blood on her hands, firing half her staff and relentlessly hunting down the vulnerable charity worker. However, Claire is momentarily unsettled by the old lady's berating at the cemetery and suffers an uncommon pang of conscience until she witnesses the rebellious teenagers making out in the same cemetery and feels a twisted sense of vindication.

Frank meanwhile is busy manipulating everyone around him, the unions, the town mayor, even the priest ant the grieving parents to achieve his own ends.

He also has a moment of reflection when he notices the white tulips representing the purity and fragility of innocence in a dirty world. The closing shot of the undelivered tulips symbolise the bond between Claire and Frank and their willingness to trample the weak and the innocent underfoot on their path to success.


There isn't much symbolism to it.

As in couple of others episodes in season 1, there are scenes only meant to present Francis's and Claire's personalities. Cemetery scenes show Claire as a person who doesn't look back and doesn't have much reverence for what is sacred for other people especially when she pursues a goal. The cemetery represents the past and sacredness. Claire's aim is to have a run and this is all she keeps her mind on.

When she's scolded by the old lady, she quickly run away from it. However, seeing a couple she stops and silently approves, probably thinking of the couple as kindred spirits.


The second time she walked in the cemetery showing respect & that she smiles with emotion at the young couple, shows that she still has the desire of making love with her ex-lover, but can't.


Love Amoung the Ruins, me thinks. Love is the answer to that eternal sleep, we might as well laugh, pride or no pride...Claire is evolving


It's about finding joy and happiness in times of sorrow as evidenced by the parents being happy about the scholarship and the white tulips in the dark room. There's always light.

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