Miss Julie | Study Guide

August Strindberg

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Course Hero. (2019, May 31). Miss Julie Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved August 1, 2021, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Miss-Julie/

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Course Hero. "Miss Julie Study Guide." May 31, 2019. Accessed August 1, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Miss-Julie/.

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Course Hero, "Miss Julie Study Guide," May 31, 2019, accessed August 1, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Miss-Julie/.

Miss Julie | Plot Summary

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Summary

Section 1 (Opening to Miss Julie and Jean Dancing)

Miss Julie begins in the Count's large country house on midsummer eve, the longest day of the year, when festivities are taking place outside. Christine, the family's cook, interacts familiarly with her fiancé, Jean, the Count's valet. The Count is away, and Miss Julie, the Count's rebellious and high-strung daughter, has been dancing in public and acting in ways inappropriate for an aristocratic young woman in her position. Christine, in particular, is disapproving. Jean makes Christine jealous by speaking admiringly of Miss Julie, who then enters in a state of excited flirtation. She compels Jean to take off part of his uniform and dance with her, after which they continue their flirtation. They tell of sensual dreams and express vague longings for release from the limitations of their situations.

Section 2 (Pantomime to Ballet)

A local chorus of intoxicated farm folk is heard approaching and serenading with a suggestive song. Jean warns Miss Julie the revelers might enter the house and find them together. Miss Julie is unconcerned, but Jean tells her she is wrong to think the farm folk love and respect her: they do not. He then convinces Miss Julie to break convention and go with him into his room to avoid the revelers. After a musical interlude provides cover—the revelers do enter the kitchen and continue their merrymaking—Miss Julie and Jean emerge as lovers, despite Jean's having promised only to protect her from what seemed like a frenzied mob.

Section 3 (Reappearance from Bedroom to Next Morning)

The aftereffects of the couple's scandalous behavior now dominate the play, as Miss Julie and Jean begin to make plans and quarrel about how to move ahead after breaking the social norms. Jean would like to flee to Italy and open a hotel. Miss Julie is not enthusiastic. Although Jean takes a dominant role from having conquered her so easily, he is nonetheless aware of how dangerous his position will be when others learn what has happened—should he remain. Neither he nor Miss Julie can come up with an agreeable plan or compromise about what to do—they must do something—and Jean loses much interest when he discovers Miss Julie has no money of her own.

Section 4 (Christine's Reappearance to End)

Christine reappears in the morning, about to leave for church and aware of what has occurred. From both her jealousy and religious belief, she harshly criticizes Jean and Miss Julie.

Taking refuge in and strength from her faith, Christine leaves them to face each other, as they see they cannot escape what they have done. However, disgusted by events in the house, Christine decides to leave on her own to find work elsewhere even though Jean will not come with her. Miss Julie, planning to leave with Jean for lack of a better arrangement, has stolen some of her father's money to finance part of their trip. As they prepare to leave, she brings her caged bird to take with them in their hurried escape. Miss Julie refuses to leave it behind, despite Jean's insistence she do so. When she refuses, Jean then decapitates it.

Miss Julie can neither leave alone nor remain as if nothing happened, as Jean suggests. Miss Julie's father, the Count, returns and summons Jean, who reverts to servility when he hears the Count's bell. Through strong power of suggestion, Jean wills Miss Julie to use the same razor that killed the bird to kill herself before her father discovers their actions and denounces them.

Miss Julie Plot Diagram

123456789101112131415ClimaxResolutionIntroductionRising ActionFalling Action

Introduction

1 Jean and Christine flirt and discuss Miss Julie's behavior.

Rising Action

2 Miss Julie coaxes Jean to dance with her.

3 Miss Julie and Jean flirt and exchange intimate thoughts.

4 Miss Julie goes with Jean to his room.

5 Emerging as lovers, they discuss how to avoid scandal.

6 Both agree they need to leave before her father returns.

7 Jean wants to open a hotel with Miss Julie's money.

8 Jean suggests that Miss Julie leave alone.

9 Miss Julie steals her father's money to go with Jean.

10 Jean forbids her to bring her caged bird with them.

Climax

11 When Miss Julie objects, Jean decapitates the bird.

Falling Action

12 Disgusted with events, Christine goes to church.

13 The Count returns and rings the bell to summon Jean.

14 On hearing the bell, Jean reverts to his servile role.

Resolution

15 Giving her the razor, Jean wills Miss Julie to take her own life.

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