‘The Stronger’ is a two-hander written by August Strindberg in 1889. Two actresses meet in a cafe. Madame X brags about her perfect marriage, patronising Mademoiselle Y for never having married. Mademoiselle Y remains silent, and provoked by her silence, Madame X comes to fixate on the idea that her competitor might have had an affair with her husband. Who is the stronger, who is the weaker? What is fact and what is paranoid fiction?
Strindberg’s dialogue is a brilliant psycho-dissection of the way in which notions of acting and paranoia converge, unfolding moment by moment the emotional drama of paranoid obsession. It is included in the ‘Manual Oracle’ in a shortened version, edited by Phoebe von Held.