What is a character analysis of Count and the significance of his boots in Miss Julie?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Count is Miss Julie's father. Though he never appears onstage during the play, his brooding presence is always felt. He represents the values of tradition and patriarchy. These are values which Julie, through her illicit liaison with Jean, has completely undermined. Though the Count's reputation was damaged by his acquisition of his wife's estate after her death, it wasn't completely destroyed. This was just one of many double standards that favored men in late 19th century society.

Yet Julie's reputation as an aristocratic lady would indeed be ruined forever if news of her affair with a man from a lower social class ever became known. It is in order to protect her reputation, as well as that of her family's good name, that Julie commits suicide.

As we've already seen, the Count doesn't appear on stage, but his boots most certainly do. They can be seen as a physical manifestation of patriarchal power. Julie is constantly reminded by their presence of her father's power over her life and her lack of true agency. The presence of the Count's boots acts as an uncomfortable reminder to Julie that there is no way she can escape the power of the patriarchy short of taking her own life. No matter what she does, the patriarchy's values and norms and the social standards of her class will keep her in a state of subjection.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial