“The Death of the Moth” Analysis
In Virginia Woolf’s short essay “The Death of the Moth”, Woolf uses combat imagery to portray the vulnerability of all creatures on Earth to death, but also to show how some will not give up without a fight. Witnessing the moth’s death, Wolf realizes that it tries to hold onto life before giving up. She shows the patheticness of death, but also shows respect for the power death has over life.
When Woolf first notices the moth, she reflects on how the moth enjoys it’s repetitive every day schedule. Watching the moth flutter from corner to corner, she could tell that it “seemed to be content with life.” Although his days were simple and repetitious, he obviously did not mind. Because the moth was so pure and small, anything could harm it. Little did the moth know that his time was running out, the combat imagery used shows how death can take life from anyone and anything; event the purest of creatures.
After realizing that the moth had stopped flying, Woolf noticed that the moth had “tried to resume his dancing” by fluttering around helplessly. After seven or so attempts of trying to regain himself, the moth “slipped to the wooden ledge and fell.” The use of combat imagery lets the reader see the struggle it is when facing death. No matter how hard the moth tried, it could not escape its fate. Woolf realizes that all human beings must go through this inevitable tragedy and thus gains respect for the moth trying to hold on to what was left of his life. Virginia Woolf’s purpose in writing this piece is to remind us of the power that death has over life. She shows us the desperation of attempting to avoid death but also the inescapable ending of life.
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