Frank Underwood

Frank Underwood

    House of Cards
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up... in a middle-class home in rural South Carolina. Frank started from humble beginnings and had to climb all the way up to his current lofty position in politics. This struggle heavily contributes to his motivation and drive to get what he wants in life.

Living... in a large Washington D.C. apartment with his wife, Claire, constantly surrounded by security.

Profession... Democratic Congressman and House Majority Whip from South Carolina. Frank serves in one of the most politically influential positions in Washington and is great at what he does, but he wants more. His thirst for power drives nearly every decision he makes.

Interests... chess and video games. Frank is brilliant at both, able to think numerous moves ahead on the chess board and finding solace and relaxation in the killing of virtual players on his Xbox war games. Both serve as perfect analogues to how he operates and interacts with others in the real world -- intellectually but with heavy-handed authority.

Relationship Status... married to Claire, who is his true partner in all senses of the word. As he says, "I tell my wife everything," but not just for the sake of marital trust; Claire plays an important role in every move (especially politically) that Frank makes. They appear to be the perfect match and rarely differ, only when their individual aims happen to clash. Then, all bets are off.

Challenge... pulling the levers of power without getting caught in the gears. Frank appears willing to do anything and everything in his power to get to the endgame he desires and is more than prepared to do so at the expense of others, feeling that these "casualties" are merely collateral damage toward his greater good. However, the amount of faith he puts in himself comes dangerously close to being at the expense of his or Claire's own morality. Fortunately for him, he doesn’t really believe in God: “There is no solace above or below. Only us - small, solitary, striving, battling one another. I pray to myself, for myself.”

Personality... conniving, driven, and intensely smart. He is a smooth talker and a gentleman when he wants to be, but beware his true motives. Frank knows very well how to succeed in the "the game" and thinks through nearly every minute detail imaginable. For this reason he holds his cards very close. As he puts it, "After all, we are nothing more or less than what we choose to reveal."


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