You're making me a coward I thought I saw the bell move Afraid of a bell! But it isn't just a bell. There's somebody behind it. A hand that makes it move. And there's something that makes the hand move.—Stop your ears, that's it, stop your ears! But it only rings louder.
Jean speaks these words after hallucinating when Julie begs him to command her to kill herself. The bell, animated by an unseen power, stands for the Count's absolute authority. Throughout the play, the bell's signal, along with other symbols of the master's presence such as his boots, and Jean's coat, unman Jean, automatically returning him to his servant status. Julie, like Jean, is also submissive to the Count, her father. Jean wants to blocks his ears, but the bell only rings louder. This signifies that Jean has internalized the Count's authority.