Traumatic Effects of Social Stratification and Class Conflicts and the Shadows of Marxism in Strindberg's play “Miss Julie”

Class Struggle, Gender Conflict, Miss Julie, Marxism, Social Stratification


  • Hoda Shabrang Assistant Professor of English Literature and Language, Department of English Language and Literature, Khatam University, Tehran, Iran
  • Hatameh Ebrahimi Kiasari
    M.A. Student, Department of English Language and Literature, Khatam University, Tehran, Iran
December 31, 2019


By the beginning of modernity, a new horizon was composed by the middle class who abrogated hierarchy and monarchy by viewing social identity through the lens of the economy, hence capitalism emerged and social identity became vitally dependent on economic power. Traumatic effects of social stratification and social conflicts leading to tremendous endeavor to bridge a gap between high and lower classes of society were of the most important purposes of Marxist writers. It should be mentioned that Carl Marx defined the scaffolds of the society in relation to struggle between high and lower strata of the society. Marxism is defined during the history as a plethora of conflicts between major classes of the society who are suppressing majority and suppressed minority to at conflict leads to a social change. Strindberg's play “Miss Julie” is a naturalistic tragedy but it also includes social stratification and social conflicts between two classes of the society with symbolic characters in a symbolic setting. Court's house, the setting of the play, symbolizes a capitalist society in which Miss Julie and John belong to different classes of the society. John is a waiter and Miss Julie is the mistress of the house and symbol of a high-class person. What is outstanding in this play is the hidden structure of the play, emerging through detail and tone, is based on the special relationship between class and sex. Strindberg juxtaposes these two characters who are the symbol of different classes by strings of Marxism in the play. Strindberg also put strings of the idea that if a person from aristocrat family makes a relationship with a lower class one, it would be taken as her fall down and if a person makes relation with a higher class of the society it works as a ladder to better his position in society. As in the play, John who is aware of his position always warned Julie about the dangers of their relation and always care about his position when he refused to call Julie ''Dear''. As John used this relation as a mean to improve his status in society, he symbolically rebelled against the capitalist society which led to another capitalism at the end of the play. This paper respectively is going to delve into the Marxism, social stratification and shed light on the social conflicts in Strindberg's play “Miss Julie”.