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Notes on Strindberg's "The Stronger".

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Introduction

The Stronger NATURALISM The term naturalism refers to a literary movement that appeared in France at the end of the 19th century as an extreme form of Realism. It was inspired in part by the scientific determinism of Charles Darwin, and the economic determinism of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Emile Zola, the French writer, applied the principles of scientific and economic determinism to literature to create literary Naturalism. The name was drawn from its basic assumption that everything that is real exist in nature. Naturalism presents a photographic representation of life and stresses on how heredity and environment shape people's life. According to Naturalism, a literary work should present life exactly as it is, without preachment, judgment, or embellishment, i.e. it needs to be as ?natural? as possible. AUTHOR INFORMATION AUGUST STRINDBERG (1849-1912) August Strindberg (1849?1912), is a Swedish dramatist, novelist, poet, and painter. ...read more.

Middle

X, Married to Bob, discovers that the silent character, Miss Y (Amelia), has been- and maybe still is- Bob's mistress. Although the two characters are professionally paralleled, but they are socially contrasted. Mrs. X is employed at the Great Theatre where Bob has an important position, and she has three children in her marriage with him. Miss Y is unmarried, has no children and is no longer employed at the Great Theatre. At the end of the play, Mrs. X finds the truth about herself; she finds out that she has learned about life through imitating Miss Y. TECHNIQUE In this play Strindberg advocated different techniques all of which were to have strong impact on modern drama and modern dramatists: 1. He mostly avoided dividing his play into acts because he did not want the intervals to disturb the flaw of information to the audience, i.e. ...read more.

Conclusion

ANIMAL IMAGERY To underline his theme and characterization, Strindberg used animal imagery which links man with his animal nature. Therefore Mrs. X compares Miss Y to different animal imagery in order to degrade her value and to insult her. WHO IS THE STRONGER? According to Strindberg, "the stronger is the softer, for the rigid person breaks, whereas the flexible one bends and rises again". Before the end of the play, Mrs. X tells Miss Y that "[she] you couldn't learn from others, you couldn't bend and therefore you broke like a dry reed ?but I didn't" and therefore the title of the play can be linked with the speaking character that is Mrs. X. THEME WAR OF THE SEXES In The Stronger Strindberg had depicted a "battle of the brains" in which one of the characters wins not because she was superior but because she was more adaptable or flexible. ...read more.

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