The Death Of The Moth, By Virginia Woolf

834 words - 3 pages

The battle against death, while can be portrayed as magnificent, is ultimately pathetic and insignificant. Like a boulder tipping precariously off a cliff, one can exhibit the ardent desire to survive, yet against the fragility and impermanence of life, this desire is a pitiful effort in the face of impending failure. The hopelessness of such a situation is depicted in “The Death of the Moth” by Virginia Woolf, in which the moth incessantly endeavors to overcome the irresolvable dilemma of breaking through the barriers that contain it and visit the outside world. Woolf argues that, because even the most extraordinary efforts cannot overpower fate, one is submerged in the chronic trap of life until the omnipotent death arrives. Through the vivacity and desire for survival the moth encompasses to escape the barriers that contain it and the creeping power of death that eventually overpowers its futile efforts, the escape from the entrapment of destiny is exemplified.
Woolf utilizes the moth’s vivacity(Used Frequently) and desire to escape the boundaries that contain it in order to reiterate the point that no matter one’s concentrated efforts, the trepidation and obstacles one attempts to vanquish can never be truly overcome. In the narration, Woolf observes the activities of a day moth, struggling to escape from the imprisonment of the room, and searching for a route within proximity of the window. The author admires the vivacity of the moth and its ardent desire(used frequently) to leave the chains that bind it, yet pities the moth as an insignificant and ignorant being. Woolf, by employing the imagery of the window and the world beyond to represent the obstacles one faces and the objectives one strives for, restates that no matter how hard one tries, the goal of reaching the end of the glass ball which mankind is trapped inside is ultimately unattainable. In her reference to the true nature of life, "it was as if someone had taken a tiny bead of pure life and decking it as lightly as possible with down and feathers, had set it dancing and zigzagging", Woolf sees the operations of life as pathetic in its redundancy and futility. She uses the motions of the moth as a symbol for what humans do on a more complex level, as people chase tired and irresolvable dilemmas on part of mankind’s own ambivalence and flawed nature. Such as the moth acts “as a machine that has stopped momentarily and starts again without considering the reason for its failures”, mankind persistently...

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