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Who am I? Where am I? In August Strindberg’s play, Julie, the titular protagonist, is a young, white, upper-class Swedish woman who lives in the main house on her family’s rural estate. In personality, she is extremely strong-willed to the point of stubbornness. Julie grew up with many freedoms usually associated with boys, such as horse-back riding. One influence of this nature-nurture combination is that as a young adult, she resists conventional gender expectations. She is more interested in pursuing the fulfillment of her desires, including sexual desires, than she is conforming to social norms or marrying a husband from a family similar to her own or of higher status. In fact, she has recently broken her engagement. While references are made to other parts of the house, including her bedroom and Jean’s bedroom, the play’s entire action takes place in the kitchen.
What are my relationships? The primary relationships in which Julie is involved during the course of the play are with her father, the Count; the cook, Kristine; and especially her father’s valet, Jean. Her father is referred to frequently, but he is away during the plays action and does not appear on stage. Kristine and Jean are engaged, but Jean begins a sexual relationship with Julie. After she realizes the impact of having sex with a servant, the distraught Julie leaves the kitchen, apparently intending to end her own life.