The Death of the Moth, by Virginia Woolf

725 Words3 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 mat...

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...ed destiny, death.

The struggle for life is often seen as awkward and pathetic, such as the moth demonstrating its ardent desire for survival; through this narrow lens, death can be seen as an end to the chronic sufferings that life brings. However, rather than one force overpowering another as in “The Death of the Moth”, life and death are indeed simultaneous and complimentary components within the entire span of existence. They are not two isolated variables in which their sole interaction is that of death taking life, and life handing itself over to the dominant power; on the contrary, they are two variables that are dependent on one another for survival. Woolf fails to see that although all living beings die or are eventually eradicated, there are always a successors, and this constant balance is what perpetuates the subsistence of the cycle of life itself.
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