In the novel Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf juxtaposes many sub-stories with the main story. She does this to provide emphasis on Clarissaâ€™s life. Since neither Clarissa nor any of her family or friends ever meet Septimus or Lucrezia, the plot wouldnâ€™t be affected if he were left out, however Woolf chooses to put his story in. Also, the party at Lady Brutonâ€™s mansion doesnâ€™t involve Clarissa, but it is a part of the novel. The characters in these and other tangents parallel the main characters and provide more background in their life. They give us other people with whom we can compare and contrast the main characters.
The largest comparison in the novel is between Septimus and Clarissa. These are the two most important separate stories, and they are the main characters of those stories. Septimus is the opposite of Clarissa, but at the same time the same as her. All of Clarissaâ€™s fears and desires are acted out by Septimus. Clarissa worries so much about what other people think of her, while Septimus doesnâ€™t care at all. He does things his own way, whereas Clarissa does what people expect of her. Septimus knows what he wants out of life and does it, but Clarissa canâ€™t decide on much of anything. Even though Septimus doesnâ€™t act like Clarissa, their surrounding characters suffer similar problems because of them, and act the same way towards them.
Another person who is compared with Clarissa is Richard. They have the same troubles of communication and being understood. Richard wants to say that he loves Clarissa and is so lucky to have her, but he canâ€™t. Clarissa also wants to say that she loves life and the things around her, but she canâ€™t. They go through life wondering what other people think of them, but can never ask anyone the answer.
The other major character that can be compared to Clarissa is Sally. She is much more extreme than Clarissaâ€™s calm