The historical setting contributes largely, not only to the theme, but also, the of details of the play. Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species” was published less than thirty years before, August Strindberg’s “Miss Julie”. The introduction of Social Darwinism in 1800s was an essential to the naturalist genre within the play, and can be seen to have had an immense influence on “Miss Julie”. The simultaneous fall of Miss Julie and rise of Jean is evidently as a consequence of the theory of “survival of the fittest”, which was gaining popularity around the time Miss Julie was written. Jean’s competence, ambitious nature and better adaptability to the social structure of society, and Miss Julie’s dilemma over her position in the class structure, leads to her tragic downfall. The freedom of women and their equality to men was as a concept, in its adolescent stage, slowly gaining momentum, and so, the open-mindedness of Miss Julie and her mother, are depicted as a fallacy of their disposition that leads to disaster. August Strindberg wrote Miss Julie in 1880, only ten years later than the year when women were, for the first time, allowed to study at universities, but only certain courses. Strindberg mocks the idea of equality of men and women, as he, through Miss Julie, describes the result of Miss Julie’s mother trying to generate equality between the two genders, by saying “The whole place fell apart and we became the laughing stock of the area.”
Darwin, Charles, and David Quammen. On the Origin of Species. New York: Sterling, 2008. Print. French, David, and August Strindberg. Miss Julie. Vancouver: Talon, 2006. Print.
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