Virginia Woolf created Septimus Warren Smith as a double for Clarissa. In what ways are Clarissa and Septimus different? In what ways are they the same?
Published in 1925, Mrs. Dalloway is a novel written by Virginia Woolf, an English novelist who is considered as being one of the most important writers of the twentieth century. This novel covers multiple themes such as solitude, insanity, love and death, themes that reveal realities that she had lived herself. Clarissa Dalloway and Septimus Warren Smith are two of the main characters who portray these themes throughout the book. They both suffered mental illnesses whilst living in their past. However, the way it is expressed is completely different.
Clarissa and Septimus are quite similar when it comes to their mental state. The life they lead is bothered and disturbed by flashbacks of their past. To fulfill the life she is now leading, Mrs. Dalloway constantly reminisces the joyful days of her early life. She was much happier as a young woman than she is now, which is the reason why her life is full of regrets. For instance, she utterly regrets marrying Richard for comfort when she could have married Peter for an adventurous and happy life. Septimus also relives his past. He was a veteran of the World War I. After witnessing the violent and horrendous death of his friend, Evans, on the battlefield, he became mentally ill. He suffered from a post-traumatic disease; shell shock mental illness. This completely changed his life, making it hard for him to stay in a calm state of mind. The scene of his friend’s death haunted him in his present. Both of these characters are no longer themselves. In Clarissa’s case, it is like she is wearing a mask. On the outside, she seems like a happy woman, leading a successful life. Once that mask is removed, she reveals her real personality; a lonesome, unhappy and regretful...