BooksMiss Julie

Miss Julie

August Strindberg

Book Basics

Title:

Miss Julie

Author:

August Strindberg

Pages:

368

Synopsis

Miss Julie is a naturalistic play written in 1888 by August Strindberg dealing with class, love, lust, the battle of the sexes, and the interaction among them. Set on Midsummer's Eve on the estate of a Count in Sweden, the young woman of the title, attempting to escape an existence cramped by social mores and have a little fun, dances at the servants' annual midsummer party, where she is drawn to a senior servant, a footman named Jean, who is particularly well-traveled, well-mannered and well-read. The action takes place in the kitchen of Miss Julie's father's manor; here Jean's fiancée, a servant named Christine, cooks and sometimes sleeps while Jean and Miss Julie talk. The plot is primarily concerned with power in its various forms. Miss Julie has power over Jean because she is upper-class. Jean has power over Miss Julie because he is male and uninhibited by aristocratic values. The count, Miss Julie's father, has power over both of them since he is a nobleman, an employer, and a father. On this night, behavior between Miss Julie and Jean which was previously a flirtatious contest for power rapidly escalates to a love relationship—or is it just lust?—that is fully consummated. Over the course of the play, Miss Julie and Jean battle for control, which swings back and forth between them until Jean convinces her that the only way to escape her predicament is to commit suicide.

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