August Strindberg (1849 -1912)
It is he who first ran the great risk to portray sex as an act distinct from love. He refers to the loveless sex act in the play. He does not directly depict it on stage. To portray sex as distinct from love was really a shocking and revolutionary endeavor of the playwright. At that time sex was held to be an expression of love. People of that time were totally alien to the notion of loveless sex. This notion of loveless sex, sex in the absence of love was pretty scandalous to them. Due to this totally scandalous breakthrough in the genre of the 19th century play, Miss Julie was considered as an important facet of modern drama. By portraying frankly the idea of intercourse based completely on lust Strindberg sought to demonstrate the strength of sexual desires.
The play concentrates on the downfall of the aristocratic Miss Julie, a misfit in her society. Julie fought against the restrictions placed on her as a woman and as a member of the upper class. From the beginning of the play, her behavior is shown to alienate her peer class and shock the servants. She displays a blatant disregard for class and gender conventions, at one moment claiming that class differences should not exist and the next demanding proper treatment as a woman of the aristocracy. Her antics result in her social downfall, a loss of respect from her servants and ultimately, her suicide.
As a naturalistic play, Miss Julie focuses on Julie and Jean's struggle for survival in their society.