Preface and History
In 1815 Eugene Scribe created the Well Made Play. The tightly structured ideology behind the Well Made Play established specific formation in which drama was created over the course of five acts. One of the most rigid elements of Scribe's Well Made Play was the aspect of characterization, All characters, all the time, needed to uphold popular morals, precise gender roles, and the character could not cause controversy. As Modern Drama began to emerge, it posed challenges to this Well Made Play's confines around characterization, Henrik Ibsen is the Modern playwright most successful in his challenging Scribe's ideas for characterization, Ibsen is credited for his creation of the New Woman. This woman was one of the pivotal elements that defined Modern Drama, or "Ibsenism."
Who, or what, was the New Woman? The New woman is the creation of an autonomous feminine character that acts independently to the constraints placed on her by masculine society, She was a feminine character who was able to function as her own citizen, outside of her relegated sphere of domesticity.
Ibsen was successful in his formation of women characters. He was considered the "creator" of the New Woman, his best example being Nora from A Doll House. Nora is a New Woman through how she is everything that Eugene Scribe would fear, While Scribe's plays were "free from controversy" (Turney), Nora invites it. The goal of the Well Made Play was to dodge disagreement between the audience and the action on stage. This was achieved by casting characters that were in nice, neatly-specific gender roles in nineteenth century society, Characters were always on their best behavior. If they were misbehaving, there always was a "long-awaited revelation of the facts that will make possible the happy ending" (Cardwell 880). The final element in the five-act Well Made Play was a packaged conclusion that tied in all prior action. The intent of the Well Made Play was to let the audience leave the theatre in bien content. They needed to be pleased.
The audience also needed to understand the contents of the play, For this reason, the Well Made Play "sought (characters) with which the audience could most easily identify" (Cardwell 883), Scribe felt that it was imperative that the audience finds the characters in the play uncanny. Thus, it was a revolutionary idea when Ibsen created the New Woman like Nora. Her characterization was neither pleasing nor introspective for the viewers, It was especially unsettling when she decides to abandon her husband and children. Nora's husband, Helmer, accuses Nora of "running out on her most sacred vows" (Ibsen 111), Helmer feels that Nora should stay with him. The subject of divorce was hardly recognized in public culture during of 1879 (when "A Doll House" was published) let alone forms of high art. Nora acknowledges the situation boldly by questioning, "(what) do you think are my most sacred vows?" (Ibsen 111). Of course, Helmer explains that Nora's vows/obligations are "duties to your husband and children" (Ibsen 111), Helmer feels that Nora's place is at home with her husband and children. This perspective on femininity subjugates Nora to the role of the Old Woman.
As a precursor to the New Woman, the Old Woman was very much dominated by masculine figures, She did not have control over the decisions in her life, Also, the Old Woman certainly did not possess enough autonomy to leave her family as Nora does in the conclusion of A Doll House. As Nora walks out, she becomes a self-directed being. This action is a proclamation of herself as a New Woman, Nora's movement challenges both husband and society, yet this confrontation happens in a polite manner. She silently leaves her family. Nora's moves take her out of male society, Nora defies her gender role to pursue a different vision - a woman's version of society, This relocation grants Nora physical mobility.
Nora's decision was not a traditional route taken by women of 1879. Feminine conduct was judged from a "male point of view", Society was a male-delegated series of notions. So because the standard was masculine, all women's transgressions - which may not be such - are considered foul. But Nora, as the embodiment of the New Woman, is able to transcend social constructs laid for the Old Woman. Nora is able to actively pursue her own ideology, which is one of self-government, and she does so with grace. Then there is the graceless, squawking hysteric who exemplifies the failures of the New Woman
Imitations of Ibsen's New Woman only resulted in aberrations to the original blueprints. Instead of creating different versions of the New Woman, a gracefully self-governing being, playwrights such as August Strindberg create the Hysteric. The basic reason for this deviation is misinterpretation of what the New Woman was, should be. Instead the New Woman is painted as an exaggerated version of herself, as depicted through the title Miss Julie in Strindberg's play. The defining characteristics of the New Woman are ones granting her autonomy, Strindberg creates his character Miss Julie to have autonomy, but on an extreme level. The character interprets her sovereignty as meaning she can do as she likes, with a disregard to social constructs. While Nora defies social boundaries, she is still reverent to the hegemony she is leaving. This is seen in how he does not fight with her husband, but quietly leaves, Conversely, Miss Julie's state of existence is something of a hyperbole. This form of character embellishment makes her appear as a child in a fit, as opposed to a New Woman. Thus, Strindberg's failure to adequately build upon Ibsen's New Woman yields a Hysterical Woman. The following argument will demonstrate how Miss Julie is a Hysteric through the implementation of Lacan's Hysteric's Discourse.
The Scream of Miss Julie
Since this will be the topic at hand, I want to be completely clear on what/who I am discussing as the hysteric. Again, this woman is not to be confused with the New Woman, The Hysteric is an extreme woman, symbolic failure of Ibsen's New Woman. Gérard Wacjam's article, The Hysteric's Discourse, addresses the Hysteric as from the perspective of a medical diagnosis, Wacjam describes hysteria as a "malfunction, an illusion' it is true and deceptive; organic or perhaps mental; it exists and it does not exist" (Wacjcam). So the idea of the hysteric is all consuming.
The definition may have threads that touch on accuracy, To best define the ideas of the Hysteric, I will use the lens established in Lacan's theory on Feminine Sexuality, This diagram represents the model of Lacan's Hysteric's Discourse:
The motion of the elements in their mathematical|linguistic form show a movement of the Subject towards the Master Signifier. The motion demonstrated is one that I will interpret to be validation. The Subject will interface with the Master Signifier so as to receive a form of conformation. The next stage of the diagram addresses the matter of Knowledge. Knowledge, as it is used in this instance, is the education of the Subject of the matter of (their) self. This gathered intelligence will ultimately lead towards self-discovery. Knowledge is the driving force behind the Signifier's quest to be actualized (which is a process achieved through the Master Signifier). When the Subject gains the desired knowledge, the model represents a movement towards jouissance by way of Impotence. The idea of Impotence will be understood as meaning immobility and powerlessness. This is the transfer of elements in Lacan's diagram that can be used to demonstrate Hysteria. Movement around the diagram happens like elements of a board game. However, as seen from the picture, the Subject possesses latent jouissance. The Master Signifier possesses knowledge. Although these elements are considered individually, there is still a union between the Subject and jouissance. This relationship is achieved visually in the model, This realization of this relationship is also something that drives the Subject to achieve jouissance. The same is true for the relationship between the Master Signifier and knowledge, The knowledge is internalized in the master signifier, For the Subject to achieve jouissance, there must be an interface between both sides of the equation.
Lacan's diagram creates a frame in which I would like to establish my argument in how Strindberg's creation of the New Woman is NOT a New Woman, but a Hysteric. The elements that I would like to plug into this are those on the topic of language. Who the hysteric is, is a "question essential for her, [appearing] to arise from the structure itself, She identifies with the structure of speech" (Wajcman). According to Wajcman, the Hysteria is expressed in the woman's speech, I will specify on Wajcman's idea to say that the Hysteric builds herself through dialogue. It is not enough to say that the Hysteric's words are what makes her. The way the Hysteric presents her ideas and the how these ideas are received, which are the components of dialogue, are what fortify the structure of the Hysteric. So, to best demonstrate the pervasive failure the woman character, Miss Julie, in Strindberg's Miss Julie, we will focus on Miss Julie's dialogue in the play.
I have chosen to plug in the elements of Miss Julie's dialogue as follows:
In this equation, Miss Julie is represented as the Subject because she is the topic of discussion. She is our subject and hence should rightfully be in that position. Also, as such, she relies on the signifier I have labeled as her footman, Jean. Jean is the signifier because he lends Julie her purpose, or significance. Below Jean is the second signification. This is knowledge, which becomes Julie's power mechanism over Jean. This insight will of course lead to jouissance. For the purpose of this discussion, let us understand jouissance as an actualization of pleasure that becomes misconstrued as a form/source of hysteria. In this equation, Miss Julie completes the final stages of Lacan's Hysteric diagram via the process of impotence. Since knowledge is gained through the discourse between Miss Julie and Jean, I will posit that the talking interface between these characters is the source of Julie's hysteria, which is internalized. These are the elements I have chosen to apply in the structure of Hysteric Discourse to explain Strindberg's "Miss Julie" as a hysteric.
The most striking trait about Miss Julie is her volatile tone. Julie's sharp tongue is experienced early upon her entrance in the first scene. Immediately Julie orders Jean to dance with her during their midsummer's night celebration. "Now then Jean, come out again and dance the schottische with me" (Strindberg 82). As an upper-class woman, and considering that Jean is Miss Julie's footman, it is not uncommon for Miss Julie to give Jean orders. The tone and the intent of these orders on her footman Jean (S1) helps to Miss Julie develop as a hysterical woman. Why is she ordering Jean to "come out again and dance"? Her statement proves that Jean was just out dancing, In the scene at hand, Jean decides to leave the party so that he could find some quiet time with his fiancé Kristen. Miss Julie is aware Jean is trying to find some quiet time with his wife-to-be, but she does not care. It is not that she does not like Kristen; Miss Julie wants to prove herself dominant over Jean, Miss Julie's does not initially intend to pursue a love affair with Jean. Miss Julie is lustful after dominance, Miss Julie's identification with the upper class gives her a form of latent, class power that she must actualize.
Part of this particular interaction between Jean and Miss Julie is a motion of self-discovery on behalf of Miss Julie. Her words are not so much a request as they are a riddle posed to Jean. If Jean can unpack the answer to why Miss Julie would want to have a relationship with him, then he will prove himself to Miss Julie as some one he can use. This is the nature of Miss Julie's riddle, but what is the actual question that Miss Julie is asking of Jean?
The riddle is the question why: why Miss Julie is so intent on dominating a footman? Why does she want to "step down?" This term is critical to understanding the context of the scene, As "stepping down" appears in the play as reference to the act of subordinating to a lower social caste, From this there is the question: why would Miss Julie want to step down? This answer to this conundrum presents an aspect of the Hysteric's three-dimensionality. According to Wacjam, "the riddle is the hysteric herself; she is the barred subject, whose body is marked by unexplainable symptoms" (Wajcman). Although Wajcman claims that the Hysteric is the riddle, she is not, As mentioned previously, the riddle is her posed question to the Master Signifier. The Signifier's answer to the riddle will demonstrate if he is capable of helping the Subject reach knowledge. As the Hysteric, Miss Julie does not have access to herself as a person. The interface between Julie ---> Jean will grant Julie access. "These symptoms define her discourse as a question addressed to the other" (Wajcman). The hysteric is the subject of her own questionings of herself, Since she is the "barred subject," Miss Julie does not have access to herself by herself, Miss Julie has access to herself only through the mechanism of riddles that she uses to incite conflict. As she exists presently, Miss Julie is suffering, or dealing with "inexplicable symptoms." She feels strange and mysterious, Again, this scene is taking place during Mid Summer's Night, which is in theory a magical time of the year where anything is possible. So, as such, Miss Julie's feelings can't be explained. Not only are their causes unknown, Miss Julie's feelings are foreign to her seeing as how she cannot access her own interiority. "These symptoms define her discourse as a question addressed to the other" (Wajcman). Julie's symptoms - which are explained as the abstraction of her interiority - are TRIGGERING her questions to Jean. If Jean decides to engage in the riddle, (here by accepting the dance), Miss Julie will achieve introspection. In this way, Miss Julie is using her personal suffering as a weapon or control mechanism over Jean, "Brandishing her suffering, she acts as the sphinx posing a riddle to man" (Wajcman). She flaunts her suffering like a weapon while depicting herself as a blockade to Jean's aspirations of traversing social class boundaries. The riddle is Miss Julie's questions and it is the root of her need for knowledge.
In posing her questions, Miss Julie suffers a failure of social dominance. Her desire to dance with the footman is the interface of the power exchange, Miss Julie's riddle (why would she want to subordinate to a lower class) is posed through her actions. As Miss Julie struggles to answer this question, she poses it to Jean. The line where dominance transfers form Miss Julie to Jean is early in the act when she asks "What? That I'm in love with a footman?" (Strindberg 87), Miss Julie teases Jean. However, her coyness is only masking her insecurities. Her question of love invites a dialogue where is not prepared to enter. Seizing this opportunity, Jean recognizes Miss Julie's question and in "having acknowledged her question, he raises to the position of master endowed with limitless power: he is the master of knowledge supposed to have the answer capable of silencing her" (Wajcman). As Jean encounters the riddle, he proves himself to Miss Julie. He is the person who possesses knowledge in that he will provide insight to Miss Julie on herself, Jean's exclusive possession of the knowledge that Miss Julie wants, he raises to a level of "limitless power." Through this, there is a role reversal and Miss Julie has unknowingly forfeited her dominance to Jean.
Miss Julie's persistence is marked by her relentless dialogue with Jean on this matter, She prefers not to regain authority, but to entice Jean to more conversation. "(The Hysteric] solicits knowledge by offering herself as its precious object, compelling man (the male) to generate more" (Wajcman). The Hysteric needs to gain understanding. Her enlightenment is validated by another element: S1. The Hysteric needs engagement with the other element, When Miss Julie makes her statement: "What? That I'm in love with a footman?" (Strindberg 87) she is offering herself as a precious object because she is offering Jean the possibility of her love. In responding to this ludicrous claim, Miss Julie hopes that Jean will help her generate more of the knowledge that she is looking for.
Freud's Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality illuminate the Hysteric's desires under the discipline of psychoanalysis. Freud believes that Hysterical women use sexuality as a way of reaching their goals:
In the context of Miss Julie the he idea of an aristocrat loving a footman is presented as being ridiculous. Of course true love knows no bounds, but for an upper-class citizen, love needed to be a locked sensibility, Miss Julie is still understanding herself as a woman, so she still retains aspects of sexual ignorance. She is still learning about herself. Again, as the Subject, Miss Julie relies on the master Signifier to be the "second constitutional character" who will help her develop sexuality. This is to say that her sexuality does still need growth - which it does.
Other language around the proposed relationship with a footman suggests Miss Julie's juvenile disregard for class ordering. Her naiveté forces her to believe that she is able to abolish these boundaries at no cost to either her of Jean. The idea is discussed under the term "stepping down," which signals a class slip from high to low. This is what Jean cautions Miss Julie against: "don't Miss Julie, No one'll ever believe that you stepped down" (Strindberg 87). But it is not a matter of Miss Julie "stepping down" on a matter of love, Freud claims that it is not only just a question of knowledge sought after by the Hysteric, but also a "second constitutional character present in hysteria" which is described as a sexual instinct. Miss Julie is after knowledge, but as a Hysteric, she sees copulation as a way of nearing her goal of knowledge. According to Freud, "the energy of the sexual instinct makes a contribution to the forces that maintain the pathological manifestations (in the hysteric)" (Freud 29). A brief flicker of Miss Julie's sexuality is expressed when she offers herself to Jean by asking him to "kiss my hand" (Strindberg 88), Jean momentarily declines. Still, Miss Julie tries to entice him more with compliments. She calls him "handsome! Aren't you conceited! I suppose you're a Don Juan!... I'm beginning to be afraid you are." (Strindberg 89) Julie is hysterical here as she is struggling to find knowledge through Jean, so she needs him to enter into a sexual realm with her, Jean accepts: "All right - but you'll only have yourself to blame" (Strindberg 89). Even though Jean accepts, Miss Julie still loses control, Jean's kiss is a symbol of his defying social structure. In this breech, he is placing himself on the same level as Miss Julie. The realignment experienced in this scene will erase Miss Julie's class dominance over Jean. As indicated by the stage direction: "Jean goes boldly up to her, and putting his arms around her waist tries to give her a kiss" (Strindberg 89). This is an actualization and test of Jean's power by his own behalf, It is also a brief skirmish and defeat for Miss Julie, "(Slapping his face)" Julie tells Jean: "hand's off now" (Strindberg 89), Julie refuses Jean's approach.
Miss Julie's slapping Jean is a form of denial that is endemic to the Hysteric. "Offering her charms, she captivates the man. She provokes his desire, then suddenly disappoints it" (Wajcman). This is part of the Hysteric's game played with men. It is all part of play to present herself as having interest, but then to reassert herself as demurring any advances. It is a necessary step in the Hysteric's Discourse because there needs to be an interface between the Subject and the Signifier $ ---> S1. In this interface there is a brief power struggle between Subject and Signifier who are represented in Strindberg's drama as Miss Julie and Jean.
Part of the struggle is also the Hysteric not wanting to fall from Subject to Object. Miss Julie needs to remain in the position of the subject, "As subject [the hysteric] incited desire; but when this desire moves towards the object that causes it, the hysteric cannot condescend to be this object" (Wajcman). The sexual reality is not the goal of the subject - only the idea of such, which can be achieved in the form of temptation, teasing. If Miss Julie accepted Jean's advance here, there would be a complete shift in the balance of power. A disruption of this magnitude would send Miss Julie into the role of the object. Again - to remain dominant - Miss Julie needs to be in the position of the Subject. This is the reason why Julie slaps Jean. According to Freud, there is a certain "enigmatic contradiction which hysteria presents, by revealing the pair of opposites by which it is characterized - exaggerated sexual craving and excessive aversion to sexuality" (Freud 31). This supports the previous argument of the hysteric NOT having access to her inner self. For this reason, Miss Julie appears ambivalent about her own sexuality. In one respect, Miss Julie invites Jean's advance, but in another, Miss Julie wants to be held as something inaccessible. If miss Julie were to be accessible, she would submit in the power structure; lapsing into a role reversal with Jean where Miss Julie was made into to object. As discussed previously, a true power shift would require a subjugation of Miss Julie by Jean; the possibility of this sexual relation is more than suggested by Strindberg.
In spite of the scene discussed previously where Julie slaps Jean there is evidence that there was copulation between the two characters. This happens after Julie and Jean hear the other servants approaching. The servants come into the scene singing "a dirty song" about Jean and Miss Julie, This song is a technique used to foreshadow the subsequent act between Jean and Miss Julie. As the stage becomes filled with the "rabble" the pair hides in Jean's room because Jean says that it is the only safe place. He promises Miss Julie, who has been successfully intoxicated by this point, that "you can trust me; I'm your friend and I shall respect you - honestly I will" (Strindberg 94). This is the only time that Julie and Jean are off the stage long enough to raise suspicions of sexual relations. The stage directions that describe the character's return are even more suggestive, Julie enters first and "then she takes out a powder puff and powders her face" (Strindberg 94). She is doing this to cover up the blush that is theoretically caused during sex. After her appearance on the stage, Jean then appears on stage and immediately begins to talk about leaving the manor. He discusses this point frantically: "Do you think we can stay here now?... Run away, travel abroad - far from here... Switzerland, Or the Italian lakes." (Strindberg 94) Jean needs to remove himself because of the potential repercussions of the sexual act that he has committed with the master's daughter. Even though it was in her free will, it is still regarded as social disgrace. Regardless of Julie's (arguably) autonomous sexual appetite, she still suffers a repression on account of class, "This wave of repression... (is) the chief determinant of the greater proneness of women to neurosis and especially to hysteria" (Freud 87). This repression is Miss Julie's saving grace from transforming into an object. As with the case of Freud's Hysteric, Miss Julie's Hysteria can also be traced to sexual repression. Even though Julie actively pursues her licentiousness, she cannot fully attain jouissance because of her social repression that over laps with sexual repression. In the frame of Lacan's terminology, Miss Julie can never achieve total jouissance.
So then, the screaming rebuttal to that claim would be: If Miss Julie cannot achieve total pleasure (represented by the variable a), how can she be the master signifier in the equation? As described in the formula, the penultimate stage of the Lacanian discourse is the jouissance. The common idea about Lacan's phrase jouissance suggests an intrinsic sexual nature. Yet, it was demonstrated that Miss Julie is not able to satiate her sexuality. It is the arrow of transition (<---) marked "impotence" where a transfer of power occurs. This move happens though a failure of sexuality and victory in recasting Jean. From this point, the idea of Jouissance can be interpreted in two directions. One point of view is a claim that Miss Julie is the Master Signifier who incites the process of emasculation (meaning immobility). The other perspective is arguably the idea that Jean is the victor and performs an emasculation of Julie's Hysteric Gender (that in its desire for power has appropriated masculine qualities uncharacteristic of women during this time). For the purpose of the argument, it is relevant to consider Miss Julie as the pivotal point in the Hysteric Discourse. In Miss Julie's encounters with Jean, regardless of if she accepts or denies his advances, she is still able to inflict impotence upon Jean. It is in this emasculation that Miss Julie emerges, finally, as a Hysteric. The first way in which Miss Julie causes impotence is how she refuses to leave the manor with Jean, Jean can't understand the sudden shift in the power struggle: "oh, for goodness sake, don't make a scene: your whole future's in the balance - the rest of your life" (Strindberg 111). Jean really means that if Julie makes a fuss about leaving the manor it will ruin the balance of the rest of HIS life. As of right now, Jean's life is hanging in the balance. He is teetering between social escalation and rape. Remember, Jean has committed an act of socio-sexual transgression that will have him a marked man on the manor. He will be discovered by his lover, Kristen, the other servants, and eventually his master. In this sense, he will be sexually constrained and publicly castigated, Miss Julie is aware of this. "The castrating dimension of the hysteric's [is] evident. Pushing man towards knowledge, she also pushes him towards failure: the man involved with her always finds himself stupid" (Wajcman). As Julie pushes Jean towards "knowledge" - in the sense of the knowledge that she needs - Julie is also leading Jean towards failure. One of the tools that Miss Julie uses to achieve knowledge is her sexuality, but it is through this sexuality that Jean will reach failure. In this motion is how Miss Julie leads Jean towards failure. Despite their copulation, Miss Julie castigates Jean and denies him any advancement. This is her last bold act of obstinacy, "You think I'm weak? How I'd love to see your blood, and your brains, on a chopping-block! I'd like to see your whole sex swimming in a sea of blood, like this creature here" (Strindberg 112). Julie's dialogue here demonstrates her dominance, in how she asserts her self-assurance in spite of Jean power. However, Miss Julie also furthers herself as a Hysteric in how her strong mental capacity begins to deteriorate. After Miss Julie's bold declaration of defiance, the next few pages of text are filled with prattle about moving to Switzerland with Kristen and Jean and starting a hotel and etc. etc. etc, Miss Julie's language is completely mindless. This degree of hysteria is a comment on Miss Julie's impotence as well as Jean's powerlessness in the sense of location, cast, and sexuality. Miss Julie's hysteria allows for her victory in how this mental capacity metaphorically castrates Jean to the point of rendering him impotent:
This equation shows how knowledge transfers into Hystreria by way of impotence, Julie's knowledge acquired through Jean translates into a concrete form of Hysteria for her. This process moves through the metaphorical castration.
Miss Julie's physical impotence solidifies her hysteria, but there is the question of jouissance wherein it brings to question: "Is Miss Julie a fitting variable in the Hysteric's Discourse?" The movement of the Hysteric goes from a ---> S2. The power of the knowledge facilitates the actualization of surplus-jouissance. The jouissance in this equation is no the sexual pleasure which is often the inferred meaning of this term. Here the term is nothing overly sexual. The jouissance in this discourse is again, a reckoning of the surplus information which WOULD form pleasure (seeing as how it was so sought after) but instead it causes Hysteria. Many of the elements in the Hysteric's Discourse may bear sexual undertones and guises, but they are inherently not sexual and instead often lead towards the progression of hysteria. What happens in the case of Miss Julie is that the knowledge from the character transfers into a state of excessive hysteria through the mechanism of impotence on behalf of both Miss Julie and Jean.
The final stage and complete actualization of Hysteria through Miss Julie's attempt to self actualize emotionally. The Hysteric's "emotional importance - to obtain discharge... in the case of hysteria they find such an expression... in hysterical symptoms" (Freud 30). Miss Julie approaches this state of excessive, impotent hysteria by trying in one last, thrashing moment to leave her won game. To use Freud's language, she wants to be discharged from her situation where she feels impotent. However, Miss Julie is stuck that any solution of this nature would result in an ultimate discharge: death.
The removal of the symptoms of hysterical patients by psycho-analysis proceeds on the supposition that those symptoms are substituted-transcriptions as it were-for a number of emotional cathected mental processes (Freud 30).
Freud is explaining that the versions of Hysteria become so central in the mental processes that they consume these mental processes completely. The hysteria is a "transcription" - or a substitute for - all other logic, such that there is no other thought which would be not hysterical. "Wishes and desires, which, by the operation of a special psychical procedure (repression), have been prevented from obtaining discharge in psychical activity that is admissible to consciousness" (Freud 30). From the processes of repression (as discussed previously as something that prompts hysteria) the Hysteric is not able to achieve a discharge because the conscious psyche does not allow for this. Thus, in the final stage where Miss Julie tries to stop her Hysteria she cannot become discharged. The only end to Miss Julie's hysteric discourse is her cathartic death.
Miss Julie plans to kill herself. In the last act, Jean places a razor in Miss Julie's hand, to which Miss Julie replies: "thank you - now I'm going to have peace at last" (Strindberg 118). Then she walks off to the barn to complete her discharge from her hysteria, Jean's lines that conclude the play are: "It's horrible, but there is no other way, Go..." (Strindberg 119). There is no other way for Miss Julie to be at peace. As mentioned above, the hysteric can not function under any other thought pattern because the hysterical thoughts have completely consumed internal logic. Hence, Miss Julie is, and can only exist as a hysteric>br>
August Strindberg's character, Miss Julie, isn't alone in modern drama. There are many cases where the characters based on the model of the New Woman have gone wild. Miss Julie's final death is her end, the end to they Hysteric Discourse. Though this perception, there is a failure, a disservice, done to the New Woman, Strindberg misrepresents the New Woman by creating her as an exaggerated version of her former self, Miss Julie is extreme. While Nora quietly conducts her business, Julie screams, Nora still bears a regard for her children as expressed by her request that the maid still look after them, Miss Julie ties to boldly abolish her social construct. Finally, compared to Nora's exit through a door, Miss Julie kills herself and departs from life all together, Miss Julie's statement of final silence is a complete collapse of New Woman.
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