August Strindberg: Kvinnohatare eller Kvinnorättsförespråkare?
In “August Strindberg: kvinnohatare eller Kvinnorättsförespråkare?” I try to analyse Strindberg’s work without involving his personal life, because one should never forget that literature is pure fiction and that the narrator is not the writer. I therefore examine Strindberg’s plays Herr Bengts hustru (1882), Fadren (1887) and Pelikanen (1907) based purely on content and disregarding Strindberg’s personal life and the many existing misogynistic interpretations. After identifying numerous contradictions in Strindberg’s own quotes about women and their place in society, I started to wonder whether Strindberg’s work can be interpreted as a feministic effort to support women in their struggle for equal rights, whether he tried to create more attention for this debate by making both feministic and misogynistic statements, so he himself could not be identified as either a misogynist or a feminist. I also wonder whether this ambivalence was intentional, so that his readers could not base their opinions about women and their place in society on Strindberg’s opinion, compelling them to reflect on the matter themselves. I conclude that one can interpret the conspiracies, maltreatments and death in the plays Fadren and Pelikanen as a warning: tragedies like this happen and will continue to happen until men and women have equal rights! Based on that conclusion, one can read Strindberg’s work as a feministic effort instead of as an expression of misogyny.