Essay, Research Paper: Miss Julie

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In Miss Julie, by August Strindberg wrote about the naturalistic view of human
behavior. He symbolizes the behavior through animal imagery. The animal image
Strindberg uses helps him exemplify his naturalistic view. The first animal
imagery Strindberg uses is the dog. Jean uses the dog imagery to describe to
Kristen how Miss Julie made her ex-fiancé act before the break-up. “ Why, she
was making him jump over her riding whip the way you teach a dog to jump.” A
dog is mans best friend only because a dog is an extremely loyal animal. Having
Jean compare what Miss Julies did to her ex-fiancé with what some one would do
to a dog shows Miss Julies drive to be the dominant one or the master.
Strindberg again uses the imagery of a dog when he has Miss Julie say, “dog
who wears my collar” to Jean. Miss Julie feels that her social status is so
much superior to that of Jean that their relationship could be compared to that
of a master and his dog. The dog imagery in the play is also used to demonstrate
the difference in social classes. In the play Miss Julie’s dog, Diana, is
impregnated by the lodge-keepers pug. Kristen demonstrates Miss Julie’s
disgust when she says; “She almost had poor Diana shot for running after the
lodge-keepers pug.” The sexual affair between the dogs also represents the
sexual affair between Jean and Miss Julie and how the two of them look down on
each other. Jean looks down on Miss Julie for being surprisingly easy to obtain.
While Miss Julie looks down on Jean for being a servant of hers and of a lower
social class. In the play Miss Julie says that she would have killed Jean like a
wild beast and Jean goes on to compare it to the killing of a mad dog. Jean
comparing himself to a mad dog also shows how Miss Julie feels that Jean is a
sick animal and deserves to die. Like the imagery of the dog Strindberg uses the
imagery of a horse. Jean says that, “A dog may lie on the Countess’s sofa, a
horse be stroked on the nose by a young lady, but a servant.” In that quote
Jean suggests that a servant is unable to socialize with the upper class, while
dogs and horses are. Jean also compares himself to a horse when his master rigs
his bell. “ I’ve only to hear his bell upstairs and I start like a shying
horse.” The simile of comparing Jean to a shying horse also has an ironic
overtone, because a horse is a very powerful animal and why should a powerful
animal shy to a weaker animal. That shows a good comparison to Jean physical
stature and his outlook on the social structure of society that is around him. A
horse also symbolizes work and that is Jean main plot in life. The last animal
imagery used in the play is that of a hawk. Jean explains Miss Julie what the
world looks like from the lower class. “Do you know how the world looks from
below? You don’t. Like hawks and falcons, whose backs one rarely sees because
they usually hover above use.” The symbolism of the hawk and only see the
under side is actually showing that since Miss Julie is part of the upper class
she is able to see the Hawks back. While Jean is part of the lower class and is
only able to see its underside. The hawk also represents how wealthy people feel
as if they are flying above everyone. Another, symbol in the story about classes
is Jeans dream of climbing a tree. The climbing of the tree symbolizes Jean
struggle to succeed in life and become part of the upper class. On the other
hand Miss Julie also has a dream “I have a dream…I have climbed to the top
of a pillar, and I am sitting there without any possibility of getting down.”
This is the flip side of Jeans dream Miss Julie is already on top of the social
spectrum and is unable to get down or mingle with the servants and if she does
they all look down on her. Strindberg again uses the imagery of a hawk after
Jean and Miss Julie are intimate. This time he changes it and says that the back
of the hawk was also gray and that it color was just powder. That signifies that
Jean believes that he is actually equal to his masters regardless to his social
status. The powder on the back of the hawk is used to disguise the hawk just as
it would do to disguise a human. The animal imagery in the Miss Julie
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 status.

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