Miss Julie

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(1) Heredity and environment are the major forces that shape human beings. In other words, like lower animals, humans respond mainly to inborn instincts that influence behavior in concert with—and sometimes in opposition to—environmental influences, including economic, social, cultural, and familial influences. Miss Julie, for example, responds partly to her inborn female instinct for male companionship and partly to her environmentally induced hatred of men. Consequently, she both desires and despises Jean, causing her deep internal conflict.  (2) Human beings have no free will, or very little of it, because heredity and environment are so powerful in determining the course of human action.  (3) Human beings, like lower animals, have no soul. Religion and morality are irrelevant. (Strindberg, an atheist when he wroteMiss Julie, later converted to Christianity under the influence of the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.)  (4) A literary work should present life exactly as it is, without preachment, judgment, or embellishment. In this respect, naturalism is akin to realism. However, naturalism goes further than realism in that it presents a more ....Miss Julie is a tragedy because Miss Julie suffers a downfall (suicide). However, it is not a tragedy in the traditional sense. Here’s why. In a classical Greek play, such as Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, a character falls to ruin in part because of an error or lapse in moral judgment. But in Strindberg’s play, Miss Julie’s downfall results from the irresistible forces (heredity and environment) acting upon her. It can be argued that she errs when she chooses to stray across sexual and social boundaries. But Strindberg would probably counter that the error resulted from the instinctual and environmental forces that drive her, not from a moral or rational decision. She is like a moth attracted to a fatal flame.detailed picture of everyday life. Whereas the realist writer omits insignificant details when depicting a particular...
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