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By Margery Morgan (auth.)

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Extra info for August Strindberg

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Indeed it would have been foolish to ignore 'construction' in the heyday of the well-made play. Though the Preface to Miss Julie specifically rejects 'the symmetrical, mathematically constructed dialogue ... favoured in France', Strindberg, like Ibsen, certainly did not jettison the entire classical 25 August Strindberg tradition of play-writing. The Father is a three-act play which traces a single, inexorable dramatic action, keeps to a single domestic setting, concentrates increasingly on a single figure, treated heroically, and by clever trickery compresses the chain of events into a virtually unbroken continuity closely matching the duration of the performance.

NURSE: Oh, Pastor, he prayed to God in his last moment! DOCTOR: Then my art is useless. Now you must try yours, Pastor.... My knowledge ends here. He who knows more, let him speak. BERTHA (enters left and runs to her mother): Mother, mother! LAURA: My child! My child! PASTOR: Amen! (trans. M. Meyer, I, 87) DOCTOR: This distinctly ritualistic close suggests the death of Adolf, as of male domination. In fact, he has suffered a stroke from which he seems unlikely to recover. The end of The Father is thus at once final and suggestive of another time scale, a larger range of action, in which this is the ending of a single movement in a continuous, perhaps cyclical rhythm such as Strindberg's later plays present.

The scientific study of religions by anthropologists and comparative religionists was a major element in late-nineteenth-century intellectual progress. The word 'myth' came into general use at this time, carrying the implication that religions do not rest on facts but on traditional stories and iconographies, part of the shared consciousness of a community. His departures from a simply naturalistic dialogue are a sign that Strindberg was unwilling to be confined to the commonsense view of the world and impatient of keeping at all times to a style not always adequate to the further reaches of his purpose.

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