Strindberg's "The Stronger" Essay

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Strindberg's "The Stronger"

In 'The Stronger' Strindberg focuses upon the role and importance of women at the turn of the 20th century. This is portrayed through a conversation of two women who have different lives and social statuses. Mrs. X is married and therefore socially stronger. Miss Y is unmarried and rather poignantly, doesn't speak.

At the turn of the 20th century, women were seen as 2nd class citizens to men. However, this entire play is set in a women's café where
Strindberg's purpose is to allow the two characters to fully express their feelings rather than be influenced and controlled by men. Since the play focuses upon the role and importance of marriage and family, the setting of Christmas is significant.
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Strindberg has used this direction to show the audience that Mrs X knows that Miss Y is stronger through silence. She is trying to fight her strength and get a reaction from her, thus taking away her power.

Stage directions can also be used to reveal a characters emotion. For example, 'Miss Y glances up from her paper, nods perfunctually, then goes on reading.' This is the first time in the play that the characters are together. Strindberg has used this direction to show the audience how Miss Y feels about Mrs X. She is intimidated by Mrs X and uses the paper as a 'barrier'. She doesn't reciprocate Mrs Xs greeting and is being defensive. This signals a weakness to the audience and the direction has been used to reveal a little bit of
Miss Y's personality.

The personalities of the characters can be explored by stage directions. For example, '(With Malken's pop-gun) Loads it, points it and pops it at Miss Y who looks momentarily startled' Here, Mrs X is striving for a reaction and attention from Miss Y. She has gone 'too far' and invaded Miss Y's personal space. Mrs X has used a child's toy to do this and is being childish. Mrs X has lost her strength.
Strindberg has used this stage direction to show the audience how persistent Mrs X is when seeking attention from Miss Y.

Strindberg also uses stage directions to help build tension.