"Compare and contrast the characters of Hedda Gabler and Miss Julie in the plays by Ibsen and Strindberg. Support your findings with comments on the writers attitudes to their characters."
August Strindberg and Henrik Ibsen were both great playwrights of the 19th century, and both played a large role in the evolution of modern day naturalism/ realism. The plays I will be discussing are Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, (1890) and Strindberg's Miss Julie (1888). In Karen's lecture on Strindberg, she told how the two playwrights were rivals in a sense, mainly caused by Strindberg's attitudes on social issues- Namely his thoughts and theory on the role of women in society. Thus, I am lead to believe that Hedda Gabler was written by Ibsen as a direct retaliation to Strindberg's Miss Julie, just as Karen believes that Strindberg's The Father was written as a reply to Ibsen's Ghosts. Although both plays end with the suicide of the leading character, the circumstances by which they occur are very different.
In order to take these plays in their full context, it is important to examine the lives of the playwrights and see just how much of their own thoughts, beliefs and feelings are reflected in their plays. I feel this is particularly important in the case of Strindberg. I was intrigued by Karen's lecture on Strindberg, in particular the rise of his misogynist attitudes and his state of mental health. His attitudes are reflected in Miss Julie quite clearly. Strindberg believed that Women were a secondary form, which can be seen through reading his preface to the play. The translation of the play I examined was from the "Drama Classics" (D.C) Series. I found a very interesting piece of writing in this version of the play; In an editors note, it is explained that the translation was based on the original text, and contained some rants which were not included in most published versions. The most interesting of these was a part in the preface which was not...
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