Miss Julie


Part I

Summary Part I

These misogynist fantasies primarily find voice through Jean. In these first scenes, a motif that will become appears in his speech: the simultaneous idealization and degradation of woman. Jean describes Julie and her mother as both proud and crude. Miss Julie is cruder than the average servant. The Countess's degraded nature manifests as the dirt on her sleeves. This is an image of filth typical to the play. Such images recur to indicate female degradation. Still, Jean is mesmerized by Julie, saying, "But she is beautiful! Magnificent! Ah, those shoulders—those—and so forth, and so forth!" Jean's conflicting feelings for Julie are complicated by his being not just a man relating to a woman, but a servant relating to a mistress. Much of Miss Julie comes from the servant's perspective, the servant positioned to see the undesirable sides of their supposedly superior masters. This degradation is not really about class subversion, but about misogyny. Jean's humiliation of Julie relies on an assertion of female degeneracy. In the context of this play, Jean is superior to Julie because he is a man, a superiority he can use to combat her superiority to him in terms of class.