Review: ‘Creditors’

Review of August Strindberg’s ‘Creditors’.

The Oxford Culture Review

Is it possible to kill someone through psychological manipulation? This is a question that haunted the Swedish playwright August Strindberg, and forms the focus of his chamber play Creditors, currently running at the Burton Taylor Studio. In his 1887 essay “Soul Murder”, he wrote that ‘there is nothing so destructive to the thinking process as shattered hopes, and a highly developed form of this torture can induce insanity.’ He deemed this the most ‘modern psychology’, and it is precisely this process that we see played out on the stage in Creditors, written only a year later. The hapless artist Adolph is torn apart by his insecurities, allowing himself to be convinced that his wife is an adulteress. His friend, Gustav, assures him of Tekla’s infidelity, all the while playing on Adolph’s lack of self-belief in his art. This is not only Strindberg’s answer to his contemporary Henrik…

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