Naturalism in Miss Julie Essay

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Naturalism in Miss Julie

Writers involved in the naturalist movement believed that actors' lines should be spoken naturally, and that mechanical movements, vocal effects, and irrational gestures should be banished. A return to reality was proposed, with the old theatrical attitudes replaced with effects produced solely by the voice. There was a call to individualise characters, instead of generalising them, to produce characters whose minds and bodies would function as they would in real life. Strindberg's 'Miss Julie' has been said to be an excellent example of this movement, as it involves stress on multiple motivation of action; a departure from the stereotypical depictions of character; and random, illogical
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There is also the bluntly overt exchange of lines such as, 'Beast!' 'Menial! Lackey!' 'Menial's whore, lackey's harlot!' It has been proposed that this retreat to the characteristics of old theatricality is perhaps only redeemed in the last minutes, when the stage action becomes solemnly symbolic. The end of the relationship is represented by the decapitation of Julie's songbird; the sudden ring of the Count's bell introduces a character that has been silent throughout, present only in spirit. Jean places a razor in Julie's hand, and she walks out to her death in silence, as if in a hypnotic trance. Her death is not as melodramatic or theatrical as her previous behaviour, so this goes some way to compensate for earlier lapses.

Strindberg expressed an aversion to dividing his play into acts, as he believed that, "the declining capacity for illusion is possibly affected by intervals, which give spectators the time to reflect and thereby withdraw from the suggestive influence of the author hypnotist." His theory centres on the assumption that by eliminating intervals, which act as breaks from the action, continuity would improve, thereby increasing the intense nature of the plays action and creating a claustrophobic environment. In order not to break the illusion, he also wanted to be rid of any musicians that the audience could see, and would not
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