Essay on Psychological Breakdown in Strindberg's The Father

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Psychological Breakdown in Strindberg's The Father
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In Strindberg's The Father, we witness a string of actions that brings a sane and happy man to the point of utter lunacy in the span of twenty-four hours. While I think the play as a whole is less convincing in terms of its naturalism (perhaps very much due to the way it immediately dates itself), it does very fluidly connect the actions bringing about this psychological breakdown. To begin, the Captain lives in a house surrounded by women, of whom as a race he is rather untrusting. The Captain's views on parental responsibility and paternity are made clear in the first three scenes of Act One. This is intelligent playwrighting in my opinion, even though I
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Because she has previously held up his mail at the post office, she has the grounds to say what she does, and while she is misleading the doctor, she has left herself with an excuse as well (the question of her husband's sanity). The doctor's questioning of the captain is spurred by Laura's deceit, and he finds the Captain obstinate, stubborn, and a bit compulsive. He only focuses on these compulsions as mental disturbances because Laura's hints led him to notice them more closely. The next major action in the breakdown of the Captain is Laura's first hint of the possibility that he may not be Bertha's father. This then leads him to leave the house (somewhat out of the blue to all but Laura) to research parentage. The next major action is the dual deceit of the Captain, as Laura now has an ally in the Doctor -- the doctor remains to supposedly look after the Mother in Law. The second act, as the first, ends in an argument between Laura and the Captain, as we see her slowly gaining the upper hand. At this point, the Captain is left unsure of his fatherhood, questioning it on the basis that no man can truly know if he is the father. He still retains his wits at this point, his scientific reasoning, but is losing control of his emotions. This ends in his final throwing of the lamp, shattering it on the wall. As we enter Act Three, the Captain has been barricaded in the upstairs of the home. Laura
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