Julie…from Miss Julie
Modern – Women
By August Strindberg (Translated by Harry G. Carlson)[Near the end of the play: Julie and Jean, the valet of Julie’s father and her would be lover, are about to run away together. Jean has just killed Julie’s pet bird because she didn’t want to leave it behind “in the hands of strangers” and they’re taking nothing with them. Although Julie had agreed to let Jean kill the bird, she is shocked and disgusted when he actually does it.]
JULIE: (approaching the chopping block as if drawn against her will) No, I don’t want to go yet. I can’t…until I see…Shh! I hear a carriage—- (She listens, but her eyes never leave the cleaver and the chopping block) Do you think I can’t stand the sight of blood? You think I’m so weak.. Oh–I’d like to see your blood and your brains on a chopping block!—I’d like to see your whole sex swimming in a sea of blood, like my little bird…I think I could drink from your skull! I’d like to bathe my feet in your open chest and eat your heart roasted whole!—You think I’m weak. You think I love you because my womb craved your seed. You think I want to carry your spawn under my heart and nourish it with my blood–bear your child and take your name! By the way, what is your family name? I’ve never heard it.—Do you have one? I was to me Mrs. Bootblack–or Madame Pigsty.–You dog, who wears my collar, you lackey, who bears my coat of arms on your buttons–do I have to share you with my cook, compete with my own servant? Oh! Oh! Oh!—-You think I’m a coward who wants to run away! No, now I’m staying–and let this storm break! My father will come home to find his desk broken open…and his money gone! Then he’ll ring–that bell…twice for his valet–and then he’ll send for the police…and then I’ll tell everything. Everything! Oh what a relief it’ll be to have it all end–if only it will end!—And then he’ll have a stroke and die..that’ll be the end of all of us–and there’ll be peace…quiet…eternal rest—And then our coat of arms will be broken against his coffin–the family title extinct–but the valet’s line will go on in an orphanage…win laurels in the gutter, and end in jail!