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The Stronger

Writer:- August Strindberg


The Stronger, one-act play revolves around a conversation between two characters, MME. X and MLLE. Y, in a ladies’ cafe. The dialogue primarily focuses on MME. X expressing her concerns for MLLE. Y’s solitude on Christmas Eve and reminiscing about past events.

MME. X discusses her observations of a bridal party where the bride seemed disinterested, comparing it to MLLE. Y sitting alone in the cafe. She suggests that MLLE. Y would have been better off staying with her former fiancé and criticizes her for being alone on such a festive occasion.

Throughout the conversation, MME. X reveals her own marital experiences, including her husband’s faithfulness and instances where other women were interested in him. She questions MLLE. Y’s motives and implies that MLLE. Y may have been after her husband at some point. This leads to an escalating confrontation and tension between the two characters.

owards the end, MME. X expresses a deep sense of resentment and hatred towards MLLE. Y. She accuses MLLE. Y of infiltrating her life and influencing her thoughts, which has caused her to feel a loss of self. However, MME. X also acknowledges MLLE. Y’s unhappiness and wounded state, feeling a sense of pity for her.

Overall, the play explores themes of love, jealousy, resentment, and personal growth within the context of a complex relationship. It delves into the power dynamics and emotional complexities that can arise in a love triangle, highlighting the characters’ conflicting emotions and desires.


1. What is the history of the relationships that have led to the scene between the two women?

ans: The history of the realtionship that have led to the scene between the two women is the relation between Mrs. X`s husband with Mrs. Y in the past and later on the relation between Mrs. X and Bob.

2. Elaborate the triangular situation in the play.

ans: The one-act play presents a triangular situation involving MME. X, MLLE. Y, and Bob, MME. X’s husband. The triangular situation becomes more complex as MME. X reveals instances of other women showing interest in Bob. She implies that MLLE. Y might have been one of those women and questions MLLE. Y’s intentions and feelings towards her husband. These suspicions contribute to the strained relationship between the two women.

3. How do you think Mrs. X won Bob from Mrs. Y?

ans: Mrs. X won Bob from Mrs. Y by capturing Bob’s affections through various means, such as emotional connection, shared interests, or a stronger bond compared to Mrs. Y. The play hints at Mrs. X’s efforts to please Bob, such as wearing her favorite colors, reading his preferred authors, and embracing his preferences and desires. These actions may have contributed to building a strong foundation for their relationship and fostering Bob’s affection for Mrs. X.

4. Why did Mrs. X fear Mrs. Y?

ans: Mrs. X feared Mrs. Y because Mrs. X thought the quality that Mrs. Y posses may attract Mrs. X husband towards Mrs. Y and it is already mentioned in the play that Mrs. X`s husband has a affair with Mrs. Y in the past.

5. Which of the two women is stronger? Why?

ans: Mrs. X emerges as the stronger of the two women. Mrs. X demonstrates her strength through her assertiveness, confidence, and ability to manipulate situations to her advantage. She takes the initiative to approach Mrs. Y, engaging her in conversation despite Mrs. Y’s initial indifference. Mrs. X openly expresses her opinions and emotions, asserting herself in the dialogue and demonstrating a strong presence.

Moreover, Mrs. X exerts power through her words and actions. She openly mocks Mrs. Y, highlighting her perceived weaknesses and failures, and makes subtle jabs at her throughout their conversation. Mrs. X confidently asserts her own superiority, emphasizing her successful marriage, her ability to keep Bob’s love, and her possession of what Mrs. Y has lost.

6. What does the play tell us about women competing for males?

ans: The play sheds light on the dynamics and complexities of women competing for the affection and attention of males. It portrays a triangular situation where Mrs. X and Mrs. Y find themselves vying for the love of Bob, highlighting various aspects of this competition.

The play suggests that competition between women for male companionship can lead to a sense of rivalry, jealousy, and resentment. Mrs. X expresses her disdain for Mrs. Y and harbors suspicions about her intentions, believing that Mrs. Y may have tried to seduce Bob. This rivalry is fueled by Mrs. X’s fear of losing her husband’s love and the perceived threat Mrs. Y poses.

7. What insight in female psychology do you find in this play?

ans: The play offers insights into female psychology through the portrayal of the two main characters, Mrs. X and Mrs. Y. It delves into their motivations, emotions, and behaviors, providing a glimpse into the complexities of women’s inner worlds.

One notable insight is the deep-seated fear and insecurity that can arise from competition with other women. Mrs. X’s fear of losing Bob’s love and her suspicion of Mrs. Y’s intentions reveal the underlying anxieties and vulnerabilities that can surface in such situations. It highlights the fear of being replaced or overshadowed by another woman, which can fuel a sense of rivalry and lead to defensive actions.

Furthermore, the play touches on the complexity of female identity and the impact of societal expectations. Mrs. X’s references to home life, motherhood, and her role as a wife highlight the traditional roles and expectations placed on women. It suggests that these societal norms can influence women’s behaviors and choices, shaping their sense of self and their strategies in relationships.

8. Would Mrs. Y interpret the “same” events differently?

ans: Yes, it is highly likely that Mrs. Y would interpret the “same” events differently. Each individual has their own unique perspective, experiences, and emotions, which shape how they perceive and interpret the world around them. In the context of the play, Mrs. Y may have a different interpretation of the events based on her own feelings, insecurities, and desires.

For example, Mrs. Y may interpret Mrs. X’s actions as manipulative or threatening, seeing them as deliberate attempts to undermine her relationship with Bob. She may view Mrs. X’s fear and jealousy as signs of insecurity or possessiveness rather than strength. Mrs. Y’s interpretation could be influenced by her own perceptions of her worth and her emotional state, leading her to have a different understanding of the events unfolding.


1. How does Mrs. Y respond to Mrs. X without using any words?

ans: Mrs. Y responds to Mrs. X without using any words through her body language and facial expressions. She communicates her emotions, thoughts, and attitudes through non-verbal cues, providing insights into her character and her relationship with Mrs. X.

2. Why does the husband never appear in the play?

ans: The husband never appears in the play, leaving his presence only to be discussed and interpreted by the two female characters, Mrs. X and Mrs. Y. The absence of the husband serves several dramatic purposes and contributes to the dynamics between the two women.

The husband’s absence allows the focus of the play to be solely on the relationship and interaction between Mrs. X and Mrs. Y. By keeping the husband offstage, the playwright emphasizes the conflict and tension between the two women, exploring their emotions, perceptions, and power dynamics without any direct influence or interruption from the male character.

3. Why does Mrs. X use tulips on the shoes, even though she hates the flowers?

ans: Mrs. X embroiders tulips on her husband’s slippers, even though she personally dislikes the flowers. This choice can be seen as a symbolic gesture driven by her understanding of Mrs. Y’s preferences and her desire to secure her husband’s affection.

This action can also be interpreted as a form of insecurity or jealousy on the part of Mrs. X. She might believe that by incorporating Mrs. Y’s preferences, she can maintain a sense of connection and prevent her husband from being drawn back to his former flame.

4. Narrate the Waitress`s version of the scene.

ans: As the curtain rises, we find ourselves in a bustling café where the drama between Mrs. X and Mrs. Y unfolds. Amidst the clinking of plates and chatter of patrons, the waitress stands at the corner, observing the events with keen interest. She is a witness to the tension that lingers in the air, and her narrative offers a unique perspective on the scene.

The waitress, a keen observer, notices the subtle nuances and unspoken exchanges between the two women. She sees Mrs. X enter the café with an air of confidence, her eyes scanning the room until they land on Mrs. Y. The waitress observes the mix of surprise and apprehension in Mrs. Y’s expression as Mrs. X approaches. Mrs. X exudes an undeniable sense of authority, her presence demanding attention.

5. What is the significance of Mrs. X`s observation about Mrs. Y that she “broke like a dry stalk”? And about herself as the one who learnt good lessons from her rival? What lessons did she learn?

ans: The significance of Mrs. X’s observation about Mrs. Y “breaking like a dry stalk” lies in the contrast it creates between the two women and their respective approaches to dealing with challenges or setbacks. The description implies that Mrs. Y was fragile and easily defeated, akin to a withered plant unable to withstand adversity. On the other hand, Mrs. X sees herself as someone who has learned valuable lessons from her rival and emerged stronger.

By acknowledging that she has learned good lessons from Mrs. Y, Mrs. X demonstrates her capacity for growth and resilience. It suggests that instead of succumbing to the same fate as Mrs. Y, she has chosen to transform her experiences into valuable insights. These lessons could include the importance of assertiveness, self-confidence, and adaptability in navigating relationships.


1. Offer interpretations of August strindberg`s The Stronger through the lens of female psychology.

ans: August Strindberg’s play “The Stronger” explores the complexities of female psychology through the lens of two female characters, Mrs. X and Miss Y. The play delves into their emotional dynamics, power struggles, and the societal expectations placed upon women during Strindberg’s time. Interpreting the play through the perspective of female psychology allows us to explore themes of identity, rivalry, and the complexities of women’s roles in society.

One interpretation is that “The Stronger” highlights the internal struggles of women in a patriarchal society. Mrs. X, the seemingly stronger and dominant character, represents the societal expectations placed upon women to be strong, assertive, and in control. Her power lies in her ability to manipulate and dominate others. On the other hand, Miss Y, who remains silent throughout the play, represents the voiceless and marginalized women who are oppressed by societal norms and expectations. Her lack of agency reflects the constraints imposed on women during that time.

Overall, “The Stronger” provides a platform to examine the complexities of female psychology within the context of a patriarchal society. It sheds light on the internal struggles, power dynamics, and societal expectations that shape women’s lives. By delving into themes of identity, rivalry, and the search for self-worth, the play invites us to reflect on the psychological nuances of women’s experiences and the challenges they face in navigating their roles within a male-dominated world.

2. What is the nature and dyanmics of the relationship between Mrs. X and Mrs. Y?

ans: The relationship between Mrs. X and Mrs. Y is characterized by rivalry, power dynamics, and underlying tensions. Their interactions reveal a complex web of emotions and unspoken communication.

The nature of their relationship is marked by competition for the attention and affection of a man, Bob. Both women are vying for his affections, and this fuels the underlying tensions between them. Mrs. X, the seemingly stronger and more assertive of the two, attempts to assert her dominance over Mrs. Y through her words and actions. She manipulates the situation, making sly remarks and engaging in subtle acts of intimidation. Mrs. Y, on the other hand, remains mostly silent throughout the play, using her silence as a form of resistance.

3. Did Bob do the right thing by marrying Mrs. X instead of Mrs. Y? Why or Why not?

ans: The question of whether Bob did the right thing by marrying Mrs. X instead of Mrs. Y is subjective and open to interpretation. The play itself does not provide explicit details about Bob’s character, his relationship with the two women, or his reasons for choosing Mrs. X over Mrs. Y. Therefore, any judgment on whether his decision was right or wrong is speculative.

One could argue that Bob’s choice was based on his personal preferences, compatibility, or a deeper connection he felt with Mrs. X. Perhaps he found qualities in Mrs. X that resonated with him more strongly, leading him to choose her as his partner. Personal attraction and chemistry are subjective, and what one person values in a relationship may differ from another.

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