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Naturalism in Miss Julie

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 424
  • Category: Natural

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As human beings, we often become dissatisfied with what we possess, and seek desperately what we do not have. This desire to experience more gives rise to dissatisfaction and greed. It grows until it is detrimental to our very existence. In Strindberg’s naturalistic play Miss Julie, the two main characters, Julie and Jean are driven to experience a life other than their own. The minor character, Kristin, is the only one content with the simplicity of her life. By portraying the differences between these three characters, Strindberg emphasizes the elements of naturalism. One of the major themes within naturalism is seeking truth and simplicity. Strindberg expresses his central message that when class is an issue and people attempt to change who they are, conflict is inevitable. Julie, the daughter of the count who owns the manor, is dissatisfied with her position in the upper class. She continuously spends time with the servants because she seeks a simpler life. It brings Julie satisfaction to act more powerful and dominating around the servants. Though she believes she wants simplicity, she is oblivious to the truth of her life. No matter how many times she attempts to control the servants or spend time with them, satisfaction eludes her because she is a member of the upper class.

She becomes intimate with the servant, Jean, and confides in him but he also only decides to use her to experience her life status. Julie refuses to accept the truth that her opinions are merely what she was raised to believe. Her obsession with experiencing life in the lower class results in a loss of integrity. As Zola emphasizes “events arise fatally, implacably, and men, either with or against their wills, are involved in them” (Zola). Julie indeed brings her demise upon herself. She is so heavily involved in the events of her life that her excessive desire allows Jean to take advantage of her. Here, Julie is vulnerable and a victim of her circumstances. Strindberg shows that a person cannot escape their current position. For Julie, the events in her life happen with and against her will. She places herself in a vulnerable position, but the way she has been raised affects her perceptions. From her mother, Julie learns “to mistrust and hate men-…and [Julie] swore to [her mother] [Julie] would never be the slave of a man (310). Confused and frustrated, Julie ends up seeking gratification through controlling those she sees as her inferiors because she was taught not to be slave to a man.

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