August Strindberg by Margery Morgan (auth.)

By Margery Morgan (auth.)

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You know', says Laura, shortly before the end of Act 11, 'you ought to have been a poet'; and the greater freedom of expression Strindberg allows Adolf, the more trapped he becomes, and the play is turned into an essentially poetic drama. 2 In talking to Bertha, the Captain tries to explain in terms of such fantastic images as children know from folk tales, and there is a strong self-irony in his speech: I want to be myself! You mustn't do that! You see, I'm a cannibal, and I want to eat you. Your mother wanted to eat me, but she couldn't.

His ghostly doubles have their own distinct voices, and this distinctness helps supply the play with its lively and energising conflicts. However, we are not meant to guess and piece together a fabric of realistic narrative. The exposition of the well-made-play has no place here (we have recently become accustomed to its absence from more modern plays and films). If there are lines which seem like unanchored remnants of such exposition, they are best treated as tokens of the substance and intricacy of a life, and followed here as they contribute to new, non-narrative patterns.

It is in Part 11 that the Unknown is most conscious of his blindness (as Saul was physically blind for three days after seeing the divine radiance) and, as Strindberg commonly conflates myth with myth, thinks of himself as ffidipus. ) Both the Doctor and the Unknown have drawn the lightning towards them, the latter in his Faustian role of scientific experi48 Out of Inferno menter with electricity, and the Beggar links the notion with the course of repentance, the persecuting Saul converted into Paul preaching a new faith: You must preach against yourselffrom the rooftops; you must rend your web, thread by thread ...

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