How far is the main character of Miss Julie responsible for her own downfall?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the preface of the playMiss Julie,August Strindberg specifies that a combination of factors in the birth and upbringing of Miss Julie have played a role in her mental state.

..her mother's primary instincts, her father raising her incorrectly, her own nature, and the influence of her fiancé on her weak and degenerate brain

This description comes with several implications. The playwright mentions that Miss Julie's brain is already "weak and degenerate", and that the variables of her particular development merely made her brain even more weak and degenerate than what it already is. This is a significant pointer, because it shows that the author intends for Julie to be solely responsible for her actions, and, as such, should be held accountable for her choices. 

Moreover, the fact that Julie's mother influenced her daughter's behavior could be indicative that both women are or were alike; that perhaps both were what would be called "hysterical". "Hysterical" women during the 1800's, and until the rebuttal of the condition as it was then described in 1952, were often diagnosed after their uncotrollable and unorthodox social behavior, often associated with an unfulfilled or a corrupted sexual desire.

Conclusively, if Julie and her mother were both this way, then there is no doubt that Miss Julie is simply a victim of fate, for she is her own worst enemy. Therefore, instead of making the necessary analysis to change her life, Julie merely allowed her weaknesses to control her, thus producing her own downfall.