Om Road to Damascus
August Strindberg's classic trilogy of plays entitled To Damascus (also known as The Road to Damascus) is known as his greatest work.A very complex and thought provoking play series, it follows the conversations between two characters: the Stranger and the Lady.An excerpt from the Introduction:The Road to Damascus might be termed a marriage drama, a mystery drama, or a drama of penance and conversion, according as preponderance is given to one or other of its characteristics. The question then arises: what was it in the drama which was of deepest significance to the author himself? The answer is to be found in the title, with its allusion to the narrative in the Acts of the Apostles of the journey of Saul, the persecutor, the scoffer, who, on his way to Damascus, had an awe-inspiring vision, which converted Saul, the hater of Christ, into Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles. Strindberg's drama describes the progress of the author right up to his conversion, shows how stage by stage he relinquishes worldly things, scientific renown, and above all woman, and finally, when nothing more binds him to this world, takes the vows of a monk and enters a monastery where no dogmas or theology, but only broadminded humanity and resignation hold sway. What, however, in an inner sense, distinguishes Strindberg's drama from the Bible narrative is that the conversion itself - although what leads up to it is convincingly described, both logically and psychologically - does not bear the character of a final and irrevocable decision, but on the contrary is depicted with a certain hesitancy and uncertainty. THE STRANGER'S entry into the monastery consequently gives the impression of being a piece of logical construction; the author's heart is not wholly in it. From Strindberg's later works it also becomes evident that his severe crisis had undoubtedly led to a complete reformation in that it definitely caused him to turn from worldly things, of which indeed he had tasted to the full, towards matters divine. But this did not mean that then and there he accepted some specific religion, whether Christian or other. One would undoubtedly come nearest to the author's own interpretation in this respect by characterising The Road to Damascus not as a drama of conversion, but as a drama of struggle, the story of a restless, arduous pilgrimage through the chimeras of the world towards the border beyond which eternity stretches in solemn peace, symbolised in the drama by a mountain, the peaks of which reach high above the clouds.