Strindberg's "The Stronger" Essay

Strindberg's "The Stronger" Essay

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Strindberg's "The Stronger"


In 'The Stronger' Strindberg focuses upon the role and importance of
women at the turn of the 20th century. This is portrayed through a
conversation of two women who have different lives and social
statuses. Mrs. X is married and therefore socially stronger. Miss Y is
unmarried and rather poignantly, doesn't speak.

At the turn of the 20th century, women were seen as 2nd class citizens
to men. However, this entire play is set in a women's café where
Strindberg's purpose is to allow the two characters to fully express
their feelings rather than be influenced and controlled by men. Since
the play focuses upon the role and importance of marriage and family,
the setting of Christmas is significant. It reinforces Mrs. X's family
values and the power it gives her over Miss Y However, later on in the
play, the strength of constant silence by Miss Y proves more powerful
than Mrs X's family values and the setting of Christmas is quite
forgotten.

Strindberg uses a title and single letter as names for the characters
to emphasise the issue of marital status where the individuality of
the two women isn't important. It is merely the title that defines the
person.

We recognise stage directions as defined actions, usually just before
or after speech and sometimes during a characters line. They can be
used to emphasise a characters speech or to illustrate a certain
emotion. This may hint at or reveal a characters personality, where a
certain movement may show strength or weakness, particularly important
for Miss Y who expresses herself solely through actions and facial
expressions.

The stage directions in 'The stronger' tell the audience about how
strong or weak a character is. For...


... middle of paper ...


...e play, there are times when both characters are strong
and weak. It is only at the end of the play where I feel that Mrs X's
true strength is shown. She briefly concludes the argument and doesn't
appear to have any hard feelings towards Miss Y. She even thanks her
for the way she has influenced her family life. Mrs X represented the
traditional women of Strindberg's time where her life revolved around
her husband and family. This is completely the opposite for Miss Y who
represented women wanting a change to the male-dominated world. She
doesn't react to Mrs X's patronising speeches about family or children
and remains calm. She is more interested in her paper than what Mrs X
has to say.

Above all, I conclude that Miss Y is 'the stronger'. This is because
of her ability to not rise to Mrs X's 'bait'. She is strong in her
silence and never retaliates.

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