"Death was Defiance": Death of Septimus as Affirming Life in Mrs. Dalloway

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of English Language and Literature/Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures/University of Tehran/Tehran/Iran

2 دانشگاه تهران



Woolf criticizes the topic of war in the character of a young soldier called Septimus. He has lost his sanity and kills himself. The suicide of Septimus Smith has been a topic of debate, as critics have read it in numerous different ways. The current paper aims to analyze Septimus’ death(s) with the help of Deleuze’s concept of double death and his theory of time. In Mrs. Dalloway, there are two types of deaths, the death of ego and an impersonal death that Septimus experiences through a fracture in his ‘I’. The fractured I experiences metamorphosis and is split into a before and an after. This split subject is freed from law and identity but is doomed into imprisonment in an asylum. So Septimus kills himself desperately to save his freedom but there is a positive aspect to it. His symbolic suicide is as an act of affirming life as it liberates Clarissa from her confines of upper class society.


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