Miss Julie

by

August Strindberg

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Miss Julie can help.
If Miss Julie is an embodiment of the degeneracy of European aristocracy, then Jean, Miss Julie’s valet, is the embodiment of the “new man,” who is able to make his way up the ranks of society as a result of his own ingenuity and intellect instead of noble birth or a title. Strindberg explains that “Jean, the valet, is of the kind that builds new stock—one in whom the differentiation is clearly noticeable. He was a [tenant farmer’s] child, and he has trained himself up to the point where the future gentleman has become visible. […] He has already risen in the world, and is strong enough not to be sensitive about using other people's services.” Indeed, throughout the play, Jean displays a cold, ruthless, and rational desire to fulfil his dream of escaping the Count’s employ and running his own hotel, even if it means seducing and manipulating Miss Julie to do it. Jean explains to Miss Julie that he has a dream that he is standing under a large tree, knowing that it would be an easy climb to the top if he could only reach the first branch. Strindberg believed that the aristocracy was an outdated and dangerous social model, and hoped for the societal ascendency of self-made men like Jean, who adapt to and take from their environments in order to actively improve their social standing, instead of inheriting power via a title and wealth. Indeed, Jean is completely adaptable throughout the play. He plays the submissive valet to Julie’s dominant mistress and then, once he has sexually overpowered her, takes the role of master himself in order to shame and subjugate her. Jean is preoccupied with achieving nobility and social status, and takes pride in seducing Miss Julie not only because it could provide his escape from the Count’s estate, but because sullying Miss Julie’s reputation is a way of asserting his superiority to the system of aristocracy which she represents. Yet, despite Jean’s sense of his own superiority, he is still constrained by the obligations of his station in society. When the Count returns from visiting relatives and summons Jean with two rings of his bell, Jean is powerless to fight back. Despite Jean’s disdain for the nobility, he also looks up to the Count, whose fine positions and mastery over his own estate remind him of the possibilities of power and wealth. In the end, Jean commands Julie to kill herself—an order which it seems she follows, attesting to the supremacy of Jean’s powers of cunning and manipulation.

Jean Quotes in Miss Julie

The Miss Julie quotes below are all either spoken by Jean or refer to Jean. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of Miss Julie published in 1992.
Miss Julie Quotes

They were in the stable yard one evening, and the young lady was training him, as she called it. Do you know what that meant? She made him leap over her horse whip the way you teach a dog to jump.

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie, Christine
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

The young lady is too stuck up in some ways and not proud enough in others. Just as was the countess when she lived. She was most at home in the kitchen and among the cows, but she would never drive with only one horse.

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie, Julie’s Mother
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

Don't take it as a command. To-night we should enjoy ourselves as a lot of happy people, and all rank should be forgotten.

Related Characters: Miss Julie (speaker), Jean
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

Take my advice, Miss Julie, don’t step down. Nobody will believe that you did it on purpose. The people will always say that you fell down.

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

I have a dream that comes back to me ever so often… I have climbed to the top of a column and sit there without being able to tell how to get down again. I get dizzy when I look down, and I must get down, but I haven’t the courage to jump off.

Related Characters: Miss Julie (speaker), Jean
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

Do you know how the world looks from below no, you don't. No more than do hawks and falcons, of whom we never see the back because they are always floating about high up in the sky.

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

And I saw you walking among the roses, and I thought: if it be possible for a robber to get into heaven and dwell with the angels, then it is strange that a cotter's child, here on God's own earth, cannot get into the park and play with the count's daughter.

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:

Well, it wouldn't be easy to repeat. But I was rather surprised, and I couldn't understand where you had learned all those words. Perhaps, at bottom, there isn't quite so much difference as they think between one kind of people and another.

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

No, Miss Julie, they don't love you. They take your food and spit at your back. Believe me

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

That's the life, I tell you! Constantly new faces and new languages. Never a minute free for nerves or brooding. No trouble about what to do-for the work is calling to be done: night and day.

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

There will be barriers between us as long as we stay in this house… there is the count – and I have never met another person for whom I felt such respect. If I only catch sight of his gloves on a chair I feel small. If I only hear that bell up there, I jump like a shy horse.

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie, The Count
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

I? Of course! I have my expert knowledge, my vast experience, my familiarity with several languages. That's the very best kind of capital, I should say.

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

I think I read the story in a paper, and it was about a chimney-sweep who crawled into a wood-box full of lilacs because a girl had brought suit against him for not supporting her kid-.

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

You're the right one to come and tell me that I am vulgar. People of my kind would never in their lives act as vulgarly as you have acted tonight. Do you think any servant girl would go for a man as you did? Did you ever see a girl of my class throw herself at anybody in that way? I have never seen the like of it except among beasts and prostitutes.

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

Don't you see: I could have made a countess of you, but you could never make me a count.

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:

But I have read about your pedigree in a book that was lying on the drawing-room table. Do you know who was your first ancestor? A miller who let his wife sleep with the king one night during the war with Denmark. I have no such ancestry. I have none at all, but I can become an ancestor myself.

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Miss Julie
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

I can't leave! I can't stay! Help me! I am so tired, so fearfully tired. Give me orders! Set me going, for I can no longer think, no longer act –

Related Characters: Miss Julie (speaker), Jean
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

…but there's after all some difference between one kind of people and another- No, but this is something I'll never get over – And the young lady was so proud, and so tart to the men, that you couldn't believe she would ever let one come near her-and such a one at that!

Related Characters: Christine (speaker), Miss Julie, Jean
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

That’s good and well, but it isn't my style to think of dying all at once for the sake of wife and children. I must say that my plans have been looking toward something better than that kind of thing

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), Christine
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

You think I cannot stand the sight of blood. You think I am as weak as that –oh, I should like to see your blood, your brains, on that block there. I should like to see your whole sex swimming in blood like that thing there. I think I could drink out of your skull, and bathe my feet in your open breast…

Related Characters: Miss Julie (speaker), Jean
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

I don't know: I believe no longer in anything… Nothing! Nothing at all!

Related Characters: Miss Julie (speaker), Jean
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

Command me, and I'll obey you like a dog! Do me this last favor – save my honor, and save his name! You know what my will ought to do, and what it cannot do-now give me your will, and make me do it!

Related Characters: Miss Julie (speaker), Jean, The Count
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

I cannot command you – and now, since I've heard the count's voice – now – l can't quite explain it – but – Oh, that damned menial is back in my spine again. I believe if the count should come down here, and if he should tell me to cut my own throat – I'd do it on the spot!

Related Characters: Jean (speaker), The Count
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Miss Julie LitChart as a printable PDF.
Miss Julie PDF

Jean Character Timeline in Miss Julie

The timeline below shows where the character Jean appears in Miss Julie. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Author’s Preface 
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Because Jean is not a nobleman, however, he does not have the same superstitious connection to honor,... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Strindberg explains that Jean has “at once the slave’s brutality and the Master’s lack of squeamishness,” meaning that he... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Strindberg claims that Jean’s lower class is an advantage as it allows him to “look at the world from... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Strindberg adds that Jean, stands above Miss Julie because he is a man. “Sexually he is an aristocrat,” explains... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
However, Strindberg notes that Jean’s “slave” mind does show up in his fear and reverence for the Count, as well... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
In terms of the relationship between Julie and Jean, Strindberg explains that he does not believe that “two souls of such different quality” can... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
...as an ordinary character,” meant to stand in for the kind slow, overly-pious servants that Jean is trying to distance himself from. Strindberg particularly distains Christine’s extreme piety, explaining that it... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
In terms of the characters, Strindberg chose to exclusively focus on Jean and Julie (adding Christine in for reference), but he made sure to keep the “unfortunate... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
...that the furniture should be arranged so that the audience can see both Julie and Jean’s faces whenever they sit across from each other at the table. Above all else, Strindberg... (full context)
Miss Julie
Class  Theme Icon
On Midsummer’s Eve, Christine (a cook) is working in the kitchen. Jean (a valet) enters and begins cleaning his master the Count’s boots. Jean tells Christine that... (full context)
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
...Miss Julie has been crazy ever since she ended her engagement with the county attorney. Jean agrees, telling Christine that he saw Miss Julie and her fiancé in the stables one... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Christine gives Jean the food she has been saving for him but Jean is displeased, chiding her for... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Jean explains that both Miss Julie and her mother before her are “too stuck up in... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
...if Christine has finished the tonic for her dog. Miss Julie is immediately flirtatious with Jean, asking him to come and dance with her again. Jean attempts to decline, explaining that... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Julie is outraged at the suggestion that she is showing Jean preferential treatment, insisting it is simply because she wants to dance with a partner who... (full context)
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Jean returns alone, explaining that Miss Julie has been dancing wildly. Christine says that Julie is... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Julie re-enters and is unhappy to see Jean and Christine being so familiar. Miss Julie orders Jean to change out of his servant’s... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Jean returns in his coat. Miss Julie compliments him in French and he responds in French,... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
...fallen asleep by the stove. Julie remarks that she will make a good wife, and Jean agrees but tells her that Christine talks in her sleep (something he knows because he... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Julie asks Jean to sit down and have a drink with her. He refuses, saying it would be... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Jean offers Miss Julie some of her father’s wine, but she says that she has simpler... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Jean gets up. He warns Miss Julie against continuing to seduce him. He explains that the... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Julie asks Jean to pick lilacs with her and Jean refuses, telling Julie that he does not believe... (full context)
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Miss Julie tells Jean that she has had a recurring dream in which she climbs to the top of... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Jean is bothered by some dust in his eye and Miss Julie moves close to him... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Angered by her refusal, Jean tells Miss Julie that he is tired of “being her playmate” and prepares to go... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
When Jean emerged, he saw Miss Julie walking in her rose garden and was bewitched by her... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Julie applauds Jean’s story, telling him that he “narrates splendidly.” She asks Jean if he went to school.... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Julie defends herself, explaining that unlike Jean, aristocrats don’t have sex before marriage and so they need an outlet for their curiosity.... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Jean asks for permission to go to bed, but Julie asks him to take her out... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Julie tells Jean that she does not fear her servants, who “love her.” Jean explains that the servants... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
The servants enter and sing and dance around the kitchen before exiting. Jean and Miss Julie re-enter, having consummated their relationship. Jean tells Julie that it is impossible... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Jean continues to call Julie “Miss Julie,” explaining that social classes will always be a barrier... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Miss Julie agrees but is troubled that Jean will still not express his love for her. Jean is cold and rational, focused on... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
...says that she will refuse to stay in her father’s house having been sullied by Jean. She laments her poor judgement, which will likely cause her father’s ruin as well as... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Unmoved, Jean opens a drawer and pours a glass of the Count’s best Burgundy, claiming it is... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Julie claims that the Midsummer feast made her drunk and Jean took advantage of her innocence. She prays to God to “save her from the filth”... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Jean explains that he told Julie the romantic story because it is the kind of thing... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Jean doesn’t stand for Julie’s insults. He shames her, calling her a “whore” and telling her... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Julie begs Jean to help her escape and Jean momentarily softens. Jean says that he claims his own... (full context)
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Julie calls Jean a thief. Jean is not offended. He tells Miss Julie that, as an employee of... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Softening again, Jean tells Miss Julie that she is too good for him and has convinced herself she... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Following his attempted kiss, Miss Julie becomes angry again, telling Jean she hates him like a “rat.” Jean tells Miss Julie that they must escape, but... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Miss Julie tells Jean that her father almost killed himself but eventually got “a new lease on life” and... (full context)
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Julie tells Jean that she hates men unless “the weakness” comes over her, and would kill all men... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Jean disagrees, telling Julie he doesn’t want to die; he merely wants to start his hotel.... (full context)
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Miss Julie tries to stop Jean from leaving, chastising him for disavowing her after he has seduced her. Jean counters her,... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
...that they could escape scandal by going abroad and then getting married and divorced, but Jean refuses to conspire with her, claiming that he has purer ancestry than she does, since... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Julie again laments the seduction, claiming that it would be better if Jean loved her. Jean refuses to be Miss Julie’s slave like her fiancé had been. Julie... (full context)
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Jean suggests that no one will know what has happened if Julie does not tell anyone.... (full context)
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
...Julie cries that she is “trapped,” with nowhere to go and no way to stay. Jean is derisive, telling Julie that he will give her orders so that she can find... (full context)
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Christine enters, dressed to go to church. She chastises Jean for the messy state of the kitchen and reminds him that he promised to go... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Christine surmises that Julie and Jean have slept together. She tells Jean that she is not angry with him because it... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Christine councils Jean that he should find a “respectable” job since they will soon be married. Jean argues... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
...a cage with her prized canary. The sun has risen and Julie is incredibly nervous. Jean tells her that Christine is awake, but he lies by saying that Christine suspects nothing... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Jean agrees only if Julie leaves the canary behind, since it will weigh them down. Julie... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Julie becomes hysterical at the sight of her dead bird. She screams at Jean to kill her as well, cursing Jean and his entire sex. She screams that she... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Julie tells Jean that she will not run away with him to become “Mrs. Hovel” and be the... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Christine re-enters and Julie begs her to “protect” her against Jean as a woman and as her friend. Christine coldly refuses, chastising both Julie and Jean... (full context)
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Miss Julie tries to convince Christine to run away with her and Jean, telling her that the three of them could live happily running the hotel together. Julie... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
...could happily live together. Julie tells Christine, exhausted, that she “no longer believe[s] in anything.” Jean re-enters (having been behind a curtain sharpening his razor) and Christine confronts him for planning... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
Christine counters that she has plenty of respect herself, but Jean chides her for shaming him and Miss Julie for having sex when Christine herself uses... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Christine urges Jean to come to church with her and to use the sermon to cleanse his soul... (full context)
Class  Theme Icon
...Count’s estate, and she does so after telling the gatekeeper to stop either Julie or Jean from escaping. (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Beaten down, Julie asks Jean if he can see any way to escape, begging him to put himself in her... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Natural vs. Unnatural Womanhood Theme Icon
Julie tells Jean that she is not strong enough to kill herself, just like the Count before her.... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Julie and Jean hear two rings of the bell upstairs, signaling that the Count has indeed returned unnoticed.... (full context)
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Miss Julie begs Jean to pretend to be the Count and muster the resolve of a nobleman to “hypnotize”... (full context)
Biology vs. Society Theme Icon
Class  Theme Icon
Dominance vs. Submission Theme Icon
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
Jean whispers orders in Julie’s ear and she thanks him. Julie asks Jean if she will... (full context)