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Septimus: Religion, Redemption, and Resurrection

            It is appropriate to believe that Virginia Woolf was well read in Christian literature due to her intellectual opposition to organized religion. Throughout Mrs. Dalloway, religion plays a vital role in the development of plot structures and characters. Most importantly, however, is the religious attributes encompassing Septimus Warren Smith. Recurring Christian imagery surrounding Septimus calls to mind the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. These images allow readers to draw the conclusion that Septimus works as a Christ figure within the context of the novel. Through this device, Woolf creates a tunnel through which she incorporates her political and religious views. By associating Septimus with Jesus Christ, Virginia Woolf is not only able to comment on religion's relationship to humanity and reject the Christian belief that suicide is the "sin beyond redemption," but also save Clarissa from a life that would have ultimately ended in self-slaughter.
             The parallel between Septimus" progression to death and Jesus" journey to crucifixion is apparent through Woolf's visual and textual representations of condemnation, whippings, and the stigmata. The early stages of Jesus" crucifixion are much like Septimus" experiences early in the day.
             "Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guards then blindfolded Him and mockingly taunted him to identify them as they each passed by, spat on Him, and struck Him in face" (Davis).
             Like Jesus, Septimus is blindfolded (metaphorically): "He had only to open his eyes; but a weight was on them; a fear." (69). Also, Septimus, like Jesus, is surrounded by herds of people he finds threatening and seeks refuge when he exclaims, "Away from people- (we) must get away from people" (25), whereupon he jumps up and runs to seek shelter on a bench beneath a tree.

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