In this dream play the author has, as in his former dream play, To Damascus* attempted to imitate the inconsequent yet apparently logical form of a dream. Everything can happen, everything is possible and probable. Time and place do not exist; on an insignificant basis of reality the imagination spins and weaves new patterns: a blend of memories, experiences, spontaneous ideas, absurdities, and improvisations.
The characters split, double, multiply, evaporate, condense, disperse, and converge. But one consciousness holds sway over them all, that of the dreamer; for him there are no secrets, no incongruities, no scruples, no law. He neither acquits nor condemns, but merely relates, and, just as a dream is more often painful than happy, so a tone of melancholy and pity for all mortal beings runs through this uncertain tale. Sleep, the liberator, often seems a source of torment, but when the torture is at its worst the sufferer awakes and is reconciled with reality—which, however painful, is yet a mercy, compared with the torment of the dream.
A Dream Play
Miss Julie and Other Plays (Oxford World’s Classics)
Johan August Strindberg