While reading the book “Miss Julie”, written by the Swedish writer August Strindeberg in 1888, the aspect which most interested me was how the Count’s valet Jean, who will be Miss Julie’s lover during the play, acted in different ways while with Her, Christine and the other slaves and with his master.
Cocky, charming, liar, thief, arrogant and flirty are only part of the adjectives which in my opinion could be attributed to him all along the play while with the first group of people. In the following passage I will quote some of the lines which are a great example of his double personality:
• Beer – on Midsummer Eve? No, thank you. I can do better than that. (He opens a drawer in the table and takes out a bottle of red wine with yellow sealing-wax on the cork.) See that? Yellow seal! Give me a glass, now. A wine glass, I’m drinking this pur. (Pag 4)
• (He tastes the wine) Good! Very Good! Just not quite sufficiently chambrè. (He warms the glass with his hand.). We bought this one in Dijon. Four francs a litre it cost- and then there was the bottling – and the duty. What are you cooking now? The smell’s infernal. (Pag 5)
• (Gallantly)Have you ladies secrets to discuss? (Pag 6)
• Ah! Charming, that smell of violets. (Pag 6)
In the first quote ad example we can see how he acts like a wine expert describing the importance of the seal’s colour, which represents the quality of the red wine. Obviously the bottle, not affordable for a servant, has been stolen by him from the Count’s collection. He also shows his arrogance and “fake” superiority ordering to his fiancé to get him a glass, not even a normal glass, a wine one.
In the second one, instead, he is showing off his wine knowledge, which doesn’t exist because he is lying trying to be an aristocrat, expressing himself with French terms, chambrè, which explains the wine temperature, which in this case is quite cold, and also describing where did they buy it, how much did it cost and the bottling. Acted again...