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Animal Imagery in "Miss Julie"

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August Strindberg was one of the first naturalist playwrights. Darwinism influenced the naturalists to perceive a person's fate as the product of blind external or biological forces, chiefly hereditary and environmental. By replicating observed details of environment, the artist would allow the audience a deeper understanding of the forces acting on characters. Miss Julie demonstrates the naturalistic idea that human beings are strictly products of the forces surrounding them - that "free will" and "choice" are illusions. In August Strindberg's play, Miss Julie, Strindberg's naturalistic view of human behavior is exemplified through the use of animal imagery.

The first and most utilized animal image Strindberg employs is the dog. Jean describes to Kristin how Miss Julie treated her ex-fiancé the night they broke up. "She made him leap over her riding crop, the way you teach a dog to jump." A dog is man's best friend because it is an extremely loyal animal; a living, breathing, belonging who is obedient to its owner. Having Jean compare what Miss Julie did to her ex-fia...

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...Miss Julie cause her to want to be free from who she is, as well as to desire her own fall. The animal imagery in the play demonstrates how society looks down upon the people they feel are inferior to them. It also symbolizes the never-ending struggle for one to succeed in society and become a person of a higher social standing. I believe that Strindberg has given the audience a deeper understanding of the forces acting on the characters in Miss Julie through the use of animal imagery.

Work Cited:

"Miss Julie" by August Strindberg

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