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Master Olof : a Drama in Five Acts   By: (1849-1912)

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Master Olof: A Drama in Five Acts by August Strindberg is a classic piece of literature that delves into the complex themes of religion, power, and morality. Set in 16th century Sweden, the play follows the life of the protagonist, Olof, a troubled clergyman, as he navigates his faith, political intrigue, and personal aspirations.

Strindberg's writing style is both poetic and introspective, drawing the reader into the emotional depth of the characters. The dialogue is carefully crafted, with each line carrying weight and contributing to the overall intensity of the play. The author's ability to capture the essence of each character's inner struggle is truly remarkable.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Master Olof is its exploration of religious themes. Strindberg questions established dogmas and challenges traditional beliefs, inviting the reader to ponder the role of religion in society. Olof's journey towards self-discovery is intertwined with his quest for spiritual truth, making the play thought-provoking and relevant even today.

Furthermore, the political climate of 16th century Sweden serves as a backdrop for the power struggles that unfold throughout the play. Strindberg deftly incorporates historical elements, such as the Reformation and the rise of Protestantism, to address the timeless themes of corruption, greed, and the abuse of power. These political threads enrich the plot and enhance the overall impact of the story.

The characters in Master Olof are multi-dimensional and captivating, each representing different aspects of human nature. Olof, in particular, is a deeply flawed protagonist whose internal conflicts and moral dilemmas resonate with readers. His struggles with ambition, moral integrity, and personal growth make him relatable and empathetic.

While the play may require some historical and cultural context to fully appreciate, Strindberg's powerful storytelling and insightful commentary ensure its enduring relevance. Master Olof is a thought-provoking literary work that challenges conventions and offers a profound exploration of religion, power, and the human condition.

In conclusion, Master Olof: A Drama in Five Acts by August Strindberg is a masterpiece that combines poetic writing, complex characters, and profound themes. It invites readers to reflect on the nature of faith, politics, and the inherent struggles of the human spirit. Strindberg's insightful storytelling ensures that this timeless play continues to captivate and engage audiences.

First Page:



By August Strindberg


The original prose version of Master Olof, which is here presented for the first time in English form, was written between June 8 and August 8, 1872, while Strindberg, then only twenty three years old, was living with two friends on one of the numerous little islands that lie between Stockholm and the open sea.

Up to that time he had produced half a dozen plays, one of which had been performed at the Royal Theatre of Stockholm and had won him the good will and financial support of King Carl XV. Thus he had been able to return to the University of Upsala, whence he had been driven a year earlier by poverty as well as by spiritual revolt. During his second term of study at the old university Strindberg wrote some plays that he subsequently destroyed. In the same period he not only conceived the idea later developed in Master Olof, but he also acquired the historical data underlying the play and actually began to put it into dialogue.

During that same winter of 1871 72 he read extensively, although his reading probably had slight reference to the university curriculum. The two works that seem to have taken the lion's share of his attention were Goethe's youthful drama Goetz von Berlichingen and Buckle's History of Civilization in England... Continue reading book >>

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