Woolf thought of these two characters as doubles, and in many ways, they’re interchangeable. Clarissa is arguably the lead protagonist: she's the center of most of the action, and her party is the central driving force of the plot. At the same time, we root for Septimus perhaps more than any other character because of the desperate situation in which he finds himself. In the end, many of Clarissa's and Septimus' problems derive from the same source: an oppressive empire-driven culture. Tough life.