Big Ben As An Unbroken Reminder Of Inevitable Death

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“The clock was striking. The leaden circles dissolved in the air. He made her feel the beauty; made her feel the fun,” (186). An awful restriction presented throughout the novel, time is also bestowed as completely necessary for society to function. Virginia Woolf uses Big Ben as a tool to unite the characters whose lives seem so disconnected. To Clarissa Dalloway, the chimes serve as an unbroken reminder of inevitable death. With each ring, she sends waves outward into the dimensions of time and life, dramatically affecting those around her. Although disturbed by the sound of Big Ben, she has also come to anticipate it in the same way as death. Even after she dies, Clarissa aspires to leave an impact on the glittering surfaces of high…show more content…
Through the parallels drawn between Clarissa Dalloway and Septimus Smith, Virginia Woolf is able to use the notion of inevitable death to address the complexity of human nature and the erraticism of the conduct in its process. By making the stylistic choice to focus on the internal reflection of death and rely less on external dialogue, Woolf is able to portray the confusion and sensitivity of each of the characters. Throughout the novel, both Clarissa and Septimus meditate on the poetic lines from Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, a funeral dirge intended to find comfort in the idea of death. “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun/ Nor the furious winter’s rages,” (9). In the eyes of the novel, this quotation initially serves to remind Clarissa of her perpetual aging and inevitable mortality. Where death would eliminate the obstacles of such a complex world, this “heat” appears as something wonderful to Clarissa. In fearing the constant propulsion forward in time, Mrs. Dalloway often reminisces of the past. She refers to her time at the age of eighteen with Sally Seton, her female lover, as “a match burning in a crocus,” (32). The notion of romance as a heat-filled flower emphasizes the passion with which she explored her budding sexuality, bringing excitement and dynamic to her life. To a certain extent, the fervor with which
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