Clarissa Dalloway Comparison with Other Protagonists

Clarissa Dalloway is the 52-year-old lady, protagonist of the novel, Mrs. Dalloway, is a wife to Richard Dalloway and mother to Elizabeth. The novel begins as she thinks of her past, and it covers her entire day as she attempts to organize a party expected to take place later that night. She is an upper class lady whose life is filled with glamour; such as parties, fine fashion and the high society. However, she attempts to find deeper meaning of her life despite her external social life which appears to make her happy. Clarissa is highly concerned with appearances and impressions hence; she is always composed and rarely shares her feelings with others. She is seen constantly trying to connect her past with the present as she reconciles herself with her life which is filled with compelling memories. Throughout the novel she feels anxious about death and aging, even as she engages in life-sustaining actions like buying flowers.

Clarissa is satisfied with her life, however, still contemplates doubts concerning the decisions she made in her life, particularly marrying Richard unlike Peter Walsh. Although she feels life with Peter would have been strenuous, she does not let go of the thought that she gave up passions for security and the calmness of living an upper-class life. Sometimes she wishes she would have a do over. When Septimus commits suicide, she admits to the cruel forces in life and comes to terms with the possibility of death. She has no choice but to accept her life as it is and endure it. In The Misanthrope by Moliere, we meet the protagonist Alceste who is also the central source of conflict in the play. Conflict arises from the clash between his system of belief and the existing status quo. Alceste who is a French aristocrat, advocates for honesty and lectures others concerning the repercussions of hypocrisy due to the prevailing state of insincerity and corruption in his society. Not many seem to care about his views and he ends up isolating himself. Despite his isolation some men and women still show Alceste affection and consideration (Molière, Jean-Baptiste, 10). 

In this regard, Alceste is in many ways like Mrs. Dalloway. They are both concerned with aspects of society that are deeper than mere social appearances. The two protagonists often find themselves pondering over the intricacies of human life, with emphasis on the shortcomings of the community in which they live, key among this is the stratification of the society. Throughout the play, Alceste seems to go through changes; for instance, he is more willing to forgive and even offers to marry Célimène despite her offending him at one point. He admits he is weak after realizing anyone is prone to be a victim of love. He however, does not change entirely and ends up going back to who he was again when he gets infuriated at Célimène actions. Alceste is used as a satirical tool in the play to show that stern ethics cannot endure in the corrupt and class-centered society that is depicted. Mrs. Dalloway, is similarly a victim of love, when she marries Richard. However, their love seems to have faded as she does not answer Peter when he poses the question of whether she is happy or not.

            In The Lady with the dog by Anton Chekhov, Dmitri Gurov is the protagonist of the story. He is a typical lady killer who degrades women by objectifying them and considering them as the lesser sex. However, he still secretly admits to the fact that he prefers to be around women unlike men. He is an elderly man with three kids, an unloved wife and a banking job; however, he is very displeased with his family life. As a result, he seeks distractions outside his marriage and the Moscow society. He starts a relationship with Anna who he meets at a resort as they both attempt to escape their unhappy lives. In his relationship with Anna, he realizes he misrepresented himself to women and this triggers a deeper sense of need and initiative for emotional fulfillment. While back at his home, his life is empty and fruitless and memories of his young lover can’t stop haunting him. In the novel, the reader encounters changes stimulated in a man resultant from his falling in love which compels him to change his perspectives of the world (Chekhov, Anton, 12). Dmitri Gurov is similar to Mrs. Galloway in that he is also dissatisfied with his marriage. However, unlike Mrs. Galloway, he ventures into extramarital affairs. Another similarity between the two is that they are woke to the deeper concerns of the world.

            In The Grasshopper, the protagonist of the story is Olga Dymov. She is a socialite who is mostly concerned with befriending stars of the dramatic, artistic and literary domains. She is thought to be very talented in sketching, playing musical instruments, acting and sketching. However, she has never mastered any one of these skills. Olga is married to Osip Stephanych Dymov, whom she met as he attended her ailing father at his deathbed. The doctor’s selflessness, simplicity and good nature made her fall in love with him. In the story, we see that she has expensive taste and relies on her husband’s earnings to cater for these. She loves parties and throws them every Wednesday night ensuring the guests are amused by a variety of artistic pursuits. Olga is bothered by the fact that her husband is not an art lover (Chekhov, Anton Pavlovich, 59). 

Similarities between Mrs. Dalloway and Olga include their affinity for social class and society. They are concerned with their social circle and to keep them together, they both throw parties in attempts to keep their social status. Just as Mrs. Dalloway is constantly propositioned by Peter, Olga is similarly seduced by a handsome painter friend known as Ryabovsky. The two begin an affair while on board a steamer on their way to expenditure in Volga. Ryabovsky changes how Olga feels about her husband, she thinks of him as not necessary and dull. In this regard, it is evident that both Mrs. Dalloway and Olga are dissatisfied with their marriages. From the narrative of Mrs. Dalloway, it is revealed that it has been a long time since they said that they love each other. Richard ponders on whether to get his wife flowers, in a sign of affection, however, he shuns the idea. This is indicative of a causal agent to the loss of love between the two. Olga, who is consumed with art, is unable to share her passion with her husband as he is a doctor and does not appreciate art as much as she does. Consequently, Olga’s affair with Ryabovsky is a testament to the lack of love and fidelity in her marriage to Osip Dymov.

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