August Strindberg was known as a father of naturalism. Throughout Miss Julie Strindberg uses animal imagery to explain the behavior throughout the play. In the play, Miss Julie is obsessed with the animals. The animals are used to symbolize her behavior. Jean the manor’s thirty year old valet describes Miss Julie as wild and crazy. At this point he is talking to Kristen, his fiance and the manor’s cook. In the play dog imagery is used a lot . For example when Jean was explaining to Kristin how Miss Julie acted towards her fiance right before the engagement ended.
They were down at the stables one evening, and Miss Julie was training him–that’s what she called it. Do you know how? She made him leap over her riding crop, the way you teach a dog to jump. Twice he jumped, and got a cut each time; but the third time, he snatched the whip out of her hand, broke it into a thousand pieces and went off (Strindberg 72). According to Jean Miss Julie teaching her ex fiance to jump over her riding crop like a dog showed that Miss Julie’s had a dominant side. She was trying to make him into her slave she treated him like a dog.
A dog is suppose to be a man’s best friend because dogs are suppose to be extremely loyal pets to their owners. Miss Julie saw it as her being the owner taking all the control and her ex fiance being the dog listening to every word she said. She kept treating him like a dog trying to train him until he got sick of it and broke her riding crop right before the engagement ended. Diana, Miss Julie’s dog is used to symbolize Miss Julie when referring to the social class status. It was said that Diana looked just like her Mistress. Miss Julie’s dog in the play got impregnated by the gatekeeper’s dog, a mongrel.
Just like her mistress who’s trying to seduce her servant not caring about the different class he falls into. Miss Julie became very coquettish after her engagement ended and she started acting more wild and crazy than usual. I went with the Count to the station and on my way back passed the barn I just stopped by for a dance. And who do I see but her ladyship with the gamekeeper, leading the dance? But as soon as she claps eyes on me, she comes rushing straight on over and invites me to join her in the ladies waltz. And how she waltzed ! —I’ve never known the like.
She’s crazy! (Strindberg 71). She would go out dancing more often in order not to face her father the Count. She considered Jean a very good dancer and would often ask him to dance as well. Miss Julie wanted someone who could lead and that would not make her look ridiculous on the dance floor. At that point all Jean said to Miss Julie was “ As your Ladyship commands, I am at your service” (Strindberg 74). Miss Julie then replies “ Don’t take it as a command. This evening we are all just enjoying ourselves together, and any rank is laid aside. So give me your arm (Strindberg 75).
Miss Julie then goes off to dance with Jean leaving Kristin alone. Jean returns back alone to Kristin telling her how crazy Miss Julie is and what a way she has of dancing while people laughed at her behind closed doors. To benefit herself Miss Julie told Jean that class ranks did not matter at the moment. She wanted to have a good time with someone who knew how to dance and that could lead her in the dance as well. The sexual affair between the dogs represent the sexual affair between Miss Julie and Jean and how they both look down on each other.
Miss Julie looks down on Jean for just being another one of her servants and Jean looks down on Miss Julie for seeming so easy, for the way she flirted with him and for acting so crazy and wild. Miss Julie starts to confess the love she has for him while he sat there and spoke all the pretty stories she wanted to hear before he switched the role and starting saying some awful things to her. He found Miss Julie giving herself up to him quickly that he took it to his advantage to use her for her money until she told him she did not have any money for the plans he had made.