Another animal that Strindberg uses to foreshadow Miss Julie’s fate is Julie’s prized canary. When Julie brings the bird’s gilded cage into the kitchen and asks Jean to run away with her, he tells her that he will only go if she leaves the bird behind. Already reeling from Diana’s “abandonment,” Miss Julie tells Jean that she would rather Jean killed her bird than allow it to be left alone. Jean kills the bird without hesitation, cutting its head off with an axe, foreshadowing the way that Julie ultimately slits her own throat at Jean’s command. The canary, like Julie herself, symbolizes what Strindberg believes to be the frivolity of the upper classes. In killing the bird, Jean not only reveals his cold and unfeeling resolve to escape, but also his disdain for the fact that Miss Julie cares more about the fate of her pet bird than for the living conditions of most of the servants on her estate. Like the canary in its gilded cage, Julie herself proves to have been made weak by her privileged upbringing, and is ultimately defenseless against Jean when he decides to do away with her, too.
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Canary appears in Miss Julie. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.