Demonstration Of The Male Dominance And Superiority

1255 words - 5 pages

August Strindberg’s naturalistic tragedy Miss Julie, plays on the shifts in power and authority. Whether staged between the Count’s influence over his servants or his daughter, the aristocrat Miss Julie over Jean, the Count’s valet, or more interestingly the vice versa of the latter relationship. The playout of the dominant character in the relationship is constructed not only by the constraints of class, social status, and often gender within context but also the fluidity of dialogue and tone within the play. Literary focus of speech length, tone, and the implication of what is said in context may highlight the imbalance of power centering on Miss Julie’s character. In doing so, the playwright’s usage of such literary techniques specifically on page 22 of Miss Julie, reveals his intentions to impose specific perceptions of the characters within the play on the audience.
When Jean romanticizes about setting up a hotel by a lake overseas somewhere in Romania, it is an exaggerated fantasy in which Miss Julie will serve not only as his financial support but also his personal servant, inverting their roles and reinforcing the idea of patriarchy and male dominance. Though Miss Julie was born into the upper stratum of society granting her authoritative power, Jean faces a superiority complex and declares that he “wasn’t born to cringe” (Strindberg 21) with his inferior social status and adds, using a hyphen, that he is a man. Thus, Strindberg’s identifies one of society’s widely shared assumptions on gender behavior and fulfills what is believed to be socially acceptable behavior and promoting gender inequality. The continuation of Jean’s reasoning punctuates how the oppressive verb “to cringe” is not an act a male character would possess from birth as it is not traditionally considered masculine and dominating. The audience may interpret the structure of this reasoning as a subtle suggestion by Strindberg that the victimization, lack of character, and inferior behavior of women is traditionally acceptable by society. As a result, male dominance proves a stronger force than social class or status where Miss Julie is viewed by the audience as a means to Jean’s development.
Jean further romanticizes of purchasing a title of nobility to elevate his status through Miss Julie. The traditional assumptions or stereotypes within gender behavior states in the previous paragraph are further supported where Jean exclaims “Oh, in Romania I could buy myself a title. I’d be a count, and you'd be a countess. My countess!” The interjection “oh” expresses Jean’s ambitious dreams and excitement in taking advantage of Miss Julie or perhaps even his longing to attain the title he was not born with. The possessive pronoun “My” coupled with the title assigned to Miss Julie directly conveys the idea of male dominance. Jean’s tone of excitement as he becomes carried away with his fantasy is punctuated by the use of an exclamation point; this could be interpreted as the...

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