The Theme Of Love In Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway

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Love, both free and possessive, is a central theme in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. The presentation of diverse and complex relationships demonstrates that love appears in various forms and causes very different effects on people. It is important to note that love, during this time, was somewhat governed by a society which did not condone sexual freedom (especially with regards to women), relationships between classes and homosexuality as well as encouraged marriage and companionship of financial and social convenience above romantic passion. The concept of ‘free love’ is explored throughout the novel, this concept can arguably be interpreted as ‘freedom in love’; keeping one’s individuality and independence whilst sharing one’s life in matrimony with another, and in turn, letting them keep theirs. Furthermore, there is a negative facet to love which is explored through relationships in Mrs Dalloway- possessiveness; a desire for one to consume another’s identity or control that person driven by strong emotions- including jealousy.
First and foremost, the notion of both free and possessive love permeates the relationship between young Clarissa Parry and Sally Seton to certain degrees. It can be argued that Sally was Clarissa’s first love; the first night they met, “all that evening she could not take her eyes off Sally,” who had “an extraordinary beauty of the kind she most admired, dark, large-eyed, with that quality which, since she hadn’t got it herself, she had always

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