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"It's Man Versus Woman All Day Long, Endlessly" (Strindberg). To What Extent Is This Supported By Your Reading Of Miss Julie?

2176 words - 9 pages

"It is man versus woman all day long endlessly" (Strindberg). Do I agree with this statement after having read the play? The representation we get of young Miss Julie through the gossips from the outset shows the plays investment I her degeneracy and ruin. Strindberg portrays Miss Julie as being hysterical which was considered to be a female sickness in his days.The setting of Miss Julie takes place on a Midsummer's Eve, which is a festival of pagan origins that is celebrated in the European region. This can be seen as rather significant since a number of critics have associated the paganism of the festival to the lust of the characters. It is also fairly predictable that Miss Julie and Jean's sexual encounter, which can be seen as a negative meeting of class lines, would occur during the period of the pagan festival. This is so because it can be seen as an occasion for deception, a time for rebellion against the moral confines of society and also a time for the crossing of social boundaries.The play begins with Christine the cook and Jean the counts servant discussing Miss Julie their superior in the kitchen. We are told through their conversation that Miss Julie is "wild" tonight, which means that she is behaving in a rather vulgar manner, dancing and frolicking with the servants and making unabashed advancements at Jean.They then go on to speak about her broken engagement which has left her rambunctious, or more simply put unruly. This scene is very important because we are told that the reason for her fiancé leaving her is as a result of her attempt to dominate him. This scene also introduces us to Miss Julie's sadistic ways. Her attitude towards men can be seen as a result of heredity, because her mother was a reprehensibly feminist woman who detested men. Therefore it is comprehensible why she is alternately sickened by and drawn to men.The story of the training session appears to be a fantasy of emasculating Miss Julie, the rambunctious and flirtatious female protagonist. The reason for this analysis is that, when her fiancé breaks her riding crop, he symbolically breaks her masculine power over him. Therefore from the beginning we can see that Strindberg's Miss Julie will be about the battle of the sexes "man versus woman", the survival of the fittest. We are also exposed to Strindberg's take on women, when Jean tells the story to Christine about the broken engagement and goes on to say, "Well, that's a woman for you." This shows Strindberg's misogynistic view of women.We are also told about Miss Julie's dog that is pregnant after having mated with the gatekeeper's mongrel. I am of the view that Diana symbolizes Miss Julie, having been said to look like her. This also leads us to presume that Miss Julie is not very attractive, having been said to resemble her dog. In addition the fact that the dog has had sex with the gatekeeper's mongrel can be seen as a foreshadowing of the events to take place on the Midsummer's Eve. This...

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