Miss Julie In Miss Julie, by August Strindberg wrote about the naturalistic view of human behavior. He symbolizes the behavior through animal imagery. The animal image Strindberg uses helps him exemplify his naturalistic view. The first animal imagery Strindberg uses is the dog. Jean uses the dog imagery to describe to Kristen how Miss Julie made her ex-fianc act before the break-up. ” Why, she was making him jump over her riding whip the way you teach a dog to jump.” A dog is mans best friend only because a dog is an extremely loyal animal.
Having Jean compare what Miss Julies did to her ex-fianc with what some one would do to a dog shows Miss Julies drive to be the dominant one or the master. Strindberg again uses the imagery of a dog when he has Miss Julie say, “dog who wears my collar” to Jean. Miss Julie feels that her social status is so much superior to that of Jean that their relationship could be compared to that of a master and his dog. The dog imagery in the play is also used to demonstrate the difference in social classes. In the play Miss Julies dog, Diana, is impregnated by the lodge-keepers pug.
Kristen demonstrates Miss Julies disgust when she says; “She almost had poor Diana shot for running after the lodge-keepers pug.” The sexual affair between the dogs also represents the sexual affair between Jean and Miss Julie and how the two of them look down on each other. Jean looks down on Miss Julie for being surprisingly easy to obtain. While Miss Julie looks down on Jean for being a servant of hers and of a lower social class. In the play Miss Julie says that she would have killed Jean like a wild beast and Jean goes on to compare it to the killing of a mad dog. Jean comparing himself to a mad dog also shows how Miss Julie feels that Jean is a sick animal and deserves to die.
Like the imagery of the dog Strindberg uses the imagery of a horse. Jean says that, “A dog may lie on the Countesss sofa, a horse be stroked on the nose by a young lady, but a servant.” In that quote Jean suggests that a servant is unable to socialize with the upper class, while dogs and horses are. Jean also compares himself to a horse when his master rigs his bell. ” Ive only to hear his bell upstairs and I start like a shying horse.” The simile of comparing Jean to a shying horse also has an ironic overtone, because a horse is a very powerful animal and why should a powerful animal shy to a weaker animal. That shows a good comparison to Jean physical stature and his outlook on the social structure of society that is around him. A horse also symbolizes work and that is Jean main plot in life.
The last animal imagery used in the play is that of a hawk. Jean explains Miss Julie what the world looks like from the lower class. “Do you know how the world looks from below? You dont. Like hawks and falcons, whose backs one rarely sees because they usually hover above use.” The symbolism of the hawk and only see the under side is actually showing that since Miss Julie is part of the upper class she is able to see the Hawks back. While Jean is part of the lower class and is only able to see its underside. The hawk also represents how wealthy people feel as if they are flying above everyone.
Another, symbol in the story about classes is Jeans dream of climbing a tree. The climbing of the tree symbolizes Jean struggle to succeed in life and become part of the upper class. On the other hand Miss Julie also has a dream “I have a dream..I have climbed to the top of a pillar, and I am sitting there without any possibility of getting down.” This is the flip side of Jeans dream Miss Julie is already on top of the social spectrum and is unable to get down or mingle with the servants and if she does they all look down on her. Strindberg again uses the imagery of a hawk after Jean and Miss Julie are intimate. This time he changes it and says that the back of the hawk was also gray and that it color was just powder. That signifies that Jean believes that he is actually equal to his masters regardless to his social status.
The powder on the back of the hawk is used to disguise the hawk just as it would do to disguise a human. The animal imagery in the Miss Julie demonstrates how society looks down upon the people they feel are inferior to them. It also symbolizes the never-ending struggle for one to succeed in society and become a person of a higher status.