Easter by August Strindberg.

For the past few months I've been reading Three Plays, a Penguin edition of The Father, Miss Julia, and Easter by August Strindberg. Last night I finished the final play, Easter (1901), which reminded me very much of Ibsen in its themes, but I wouldn't have said it was a great play, but it is a good one.

It's set in Lund in the south of Sweden in the sitting room of Mrs. Heyst, her son Elis, and daughter Eleonora and takes place in the days from Maundy Thursday to Easter Saturday. Mr. Heyst is absent: he is in prison for embezzlement, and what follows is a portrait of a family reacting to their downfall. Elis is very depressed and feels a sense of guilt, Mrs. Heyst is basically in denial, and Eleonora has been committed to an asylum, though she has returned home for Easter. There is also Benjamin, their lodger and a high school pupil, who has also suffered financially from Mr. Heyst's crime. The family's progress towards some kind of peace of mind is not a straight path, but eventually the Easter message, the hope it brings, and the promise of Spring leads them to acceptance and forgiveness.

It is, as I'm sure is very obvious, that it is an intensely religious play and in it, in Elis, we see a little of Strindberg's character. This play was written after Strindberg's nervous breakdown and there is a sense of the author reaching for that which is timeless and indeed beautiful in a transitory age characterised by modernity and capitalism. Easter is a very hopeful play, and whilst I didn't love it and I'm glad to have read it.

And that was my 48th title for the Deal Me In Challenge. Next week: Boys' Weeklies by George Orwell.


Popular posts from this blog

Getting up on Cold Mornings by James Henry Leigh Hunt.

The Prevention of Literature by George Orwell.

Moments of Being: Slater's Pins Have No Points by Virginia Woolf.