By far Strindberg's most aggressive work, The Father is a feverish nightmare of the struggle he saw between defiant masculinity and the "treacherous weakness" of woman. No matter how paranoid he may seem on the surface, Strindberg manages to anticipate most of the issues arousing women today, particularly the idea that marriage is motivated by politics as much as by romance. The prize in the war between the Captain and Laura is their daughter Bertha, and what must be resolved is which of her parents will determine her future.
Despite its domestic setting, The Father is a large-scale heroic drama, with two mighty opponents. "There are large forces at work here, which rattle the walls of the bourgeois drawing room, " Robert Brustein writes in his introduction. "And the unconscious strains of paranoia, hallucination, even dementia, associated with Expressionist drama, are never too far from the surface."
Mr. Brustein's adaptation takes account of modern feminist sensibilities without diminishing The Father's relentless power and furious conclusion.