Theme Of Naturalism In Miss Julie

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Miss Julie is naturalistic play written by August Strindberg in 1888. A naturalistic piece is a more extreme form of realism that is defined as “An avant-garde movement, which flourished between 1880 and 1914, that portrayed heredity and environmental factors as the primary causes of human behavior through the accurate rendition of external realities,” explains editor Tobin Nellhaus. Miss Julie contains these naturalistic elements as it takes place in real time and focuses heavily on survival of the fittest between two main characters who develop a conflict based around their gender and social status in society.
Plot: The story takes place on Midsummer’s Eve in the kitchen of the Count’s house and revolves around a conflicting relationship
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To begin, social status and gender are significant to the naturalistic elements in the play. Miss Julie and Jean go through several power shifts throughout the play together, and the two discuss that each of them want to change their social status: Jean wants to build his status while Julie wishes to fall lower on the status pole. Julie explains, “I find myself seated at the top of a high pillar and I see no possible way to get down. I grow dizzy when I look down, but down I must. But I'm not brave enough to throw myself… And yet I can find no rest or peace until I shall come down to earth; and if I came down to earth I would wish myself down in the ground” (9). But Jean responds with feeling the exact opposite: “I dream that I'm lying in a dark wood under a tall tree and I would up--up to the top, where I can look far over the fair landscape, where the sun is shining. I climb--climb, to plunder the birds' nests up there where the golden eggs lie…” (9). Furthermore, Miss Julie is superior over her servant Jean because she is the Count’s daughter, but survival of the fittest comes into play when Jean uses his gender role as a man to take authority over Miss Julie’s decision to command her to commit suicide. When Miss Julie believes that there is no other option left, she cries, “Command me-- I will obey like a dog. Do me this last service save my honor. Save his name. You know …show more content…
Naturalism presents an experiment happening on stage in front of an audience. Throughout Miss Julie, the audience would have been witnessing the internal battles between Jean and Miss Julie, and their struggle of wanting to be together but also knowing how their decision would betray Miss Julie’s family honor as well as Jean’s fiance. The specific themes from the play could have sparked conversation in the audience about gender roles in their society, especially since men were treated with more dignity and respect during the nineteenth century. Miss Julie may have even caused the audience during that time to question their own internal conflicts with themselves,

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