Miss Julie

Quotes

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Pretend that you're him, and that I'm you. You were such a good actor a while ago, when you were kneeling before me. You were the aristocrat then. Or else—have you ever been to the theater and seen a hypnotist? He says to his subject. "Take this broom!" and he takes it. He says, "Now sweep!" and he sweeps.

At the end of the play, a defeated Julie asks Jean to save her honor and her father's name by commanding her to commit suicide. Jean, however, cannot command her anymore. The return of the Count has left him paralyzed. To help him command, Julie proposes play-acting and hypnosis. In some sense, Julie's acts of submission and her trance-like states have foreshadowed this climax. The play is a tragedy because its willful heroine must die; the play is cruel because Julie must go to her death having lost her willfulness. Julie's idea summarizes her relationship with Jean. Jean is to command Julie as the Count would command his valet, which shows that on one level, Julie acts as Jean's servant. Julie notes that Jean can act like an aristocrat, which shows that she sees Jean partly as her social equal. However, Julie commands Jean to command her, so she partially retains her social power over him. Julie's proposal also reveals the influence of contemporary psychology on Strindberg's work. Julie's condition replicates the condition of so-called hysterical women of Strindberg's day. Hypnotism was one of the primary therapeutic methods for patients of hysteria. This final scene disfigures the hysteric's treatment, making the cure her demise.