The and madness, particularly how madness is influenced

The paramount
element in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway
is the relationship between power and madness, particularly how madness is
influenced by power and society. Madness, depicted by Woolf through characters
such as Clarissa Dalloway, Septimus Warren Smith, and Dr. William Bradshaw, assumes
a bipolar quality; an amalgam of illusion and reality that criticizes Britain’s
patriarchal society. The presence of Septimus Smith, specifically his
post-traumatic stress disorder and subsequent suicide, undermines the illusion
that the war is over. Those in power suppress and conceal abnormality, or in
this case, ignore the actuality of the aftermath of war, in order to preserve
power. Clarissa Dalloway, by means of throwing a party and inviting the
ultimate symbol of British power and society, the Prime Minister, provides an
appropriate background for madness to reveal itself. The manifestation of
Septimus’ fate during the party, an attempt by society at regulation and
neutralization of reality, uncovers to the ignorant the existence of madness. Consequently, madness, born
by this society, through bipolar feature, creates a situation in which world is
forced to question itself, as if madness by uncovering the truth undermines the
society. Through this novel and through the character of Septimus Warren Smith,
Virginia Woolf is not only able to explore the relationship between madness and
power, but also succeeds in liberating the construct of insanity from its
marginal positions.