the power of heredity and environment in August strindberg miss julie
Miss Julie is a naturalistic drama in which August Strindberg portrays human struggle for social survival mirroring Darwinism among animals. [ The play deals with naturalistic theme like problems of social ascent or decline, of higher or lower and of gender discrimination. In the play the characters revolve around the theme and their characterizations is hugely influenced by their “heredity and
One of the major themes in Miss Julie is the social class difference that influences the actions of both Miss Julie and Jean. Both miss Julie and Jean dream in contrast to the reality. Miss Julie dreams of falling down from the “top of a pillar” and desires for the “ground to open and for [her] to sink”. Clearly, image of Miss Julie’s “fall” foreshadows the “fall” of her aristocracy towards the end of the play. On the other hand, Jean often dreams of rising high by climbing “a tall tree in a dark forest”, however he fails to reach the first branch itself. The juxtaposition of contradicting dreams and social inclinations of Miss Julie and Jean further emphasizes the influence of their class differences on their subconscious. Moreover, the juxtaposed thoughts and ideas must have had an appalling effect on the audience during Strindberg’s era. However, it is worth noting that Miss Julie emerges successful in fulfilling her dreams by “sinking” as she walks towards her death holding her head high and her aristocracy comes to an end. Whereas Jean fails his dreams, as the first “branch was rotten” itself. As a result Jean ends up back to reality where he is still striving to reach the first branch of the tall tree. Although, the servant emerges victorious as a male and the aristocrat is defeated sexually and socially, Jean still remains a servant whereas Miss Julie successfully aspires her dream. Her success in aspiring her desires to sink makes her victory eternal and immortal as she dies with nobility.
Another underlying theme in this play is sexuality and gender discrimination which is influenced by Strindberg’s misogyny. ]
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