Madness vs. Culture in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway


The purpose of this research is to explain the relationship between madness and the culture of societies, where madness is closely related to cultures. Madness is defined as a group of behaviors characterized by abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. Culture has a tremendous influence on the individual values framework of a society as it is a set of traditional beliefs, rituals, customs and values transmitted and shared in a particular society. Anyone who deviates from these rules will be considered insane. Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway is a novel that expresses her perceptions of the idea of madness throughout history; especially since the writer herself was diagnosed as mentally ill. In this novel, the writer chooses the character of Septimus and his relationship with the outside world. Septimus was responsible, obedient, and loved by his employer, yet his inner world was separated from the outside one. It was exacerbated by the fact that he was distanced from the daily habits of the masses and became a stranger and unfit for normal life. Trapped between the past and the present, he failed to leap over a painful memory, and he gradually fell into a state of madness.