Mrs Dalloway Characters Analysis

Clarissa Dalloway - The book follows Clarissa, a middle-aged woman from upper-class London, who spends most of her time arranging get parties for the benefit of her husband, Richard Dalloway, a politician. The whole book takes place over one day in her life as she organizes a party, and happens to meet an old jilted lover, Peter Walsh. Clarissa struggles to find a role for herself in the world, as he comes to realize that she is truly alone, and no one truly needs her, including her now-grown daughter, Elizabeth.

Septimus Warren Smith - He is another one of the primary characters in the novel, and is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition that hadn’t been completely understood at the time. Septimus lost a close friend in the war, and now often hallucinates about him. He also hears voices in his head, that tell him about the important things in the world. Septimus struggles to remain sane, but he eventually loses all will to live when a psychiatrist tells him that he needs to be secluded from his family for an extended period. Septimus kills himself rather than submit to the treatment of the doctor.

Peter Walsh - He is a rejected lover from Clarissa’s past, who has just returned to London from India. Peter had gone to India after Clarissa rejected his proposal and chose the marry the much more successful Richard Dalloway. He has now returned to England to organize the divorce of his new lover, Daisy, who is married to an army officer in India. Peter sees the surface success of London and lives in a fantasy world in which he seduces women. However, he thinks of himself as a failure and is constantly worried about the passage of time. 

Elizabeth - The eighteen-year-old daughter of Clarissa and Richard Dalloway, who has recently become rather close to her governess Miss Kilnman. Elizabeth has the opportunity to pursue any education, to make anything of her life, but she feels that she is too lazy to truly achieve anything.

Miss Kilman - The governess of Elizabeth, who has had a rather tough life that has been marred with poverty. She feels like the world has been extremely unfair to her, although she has found solace in religion. She has a deep hatred for Clarissa, as she feels that she doesn’t deserve the comfortable life that she leads.

Lucrezia - She is the wife of Septimus Warren Smith, whom she met in Italy when he had been recovering from the war. Lucrezia has watched the man she loves fade to the memories of war, while all the doctors have been telling her that nothing is wrong with him. Lucrezia remains devoted to her husband and understands why when he kills himself.

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