Struggle, Defeat or Rebirth
Eugene O’Neill’s Vision of Humanity
To Eugene O’Neill, the links between man and his surroundings were of prime importance. His characters struggled with existential problems, and how they related to them reveals much about O’Neill’s own humanity. For the most part, the characters defeat their problems and in doing so are “reborn” in some manner.
This work examines the 49 plays that O’Neill completed, focusing on his attempt to find an inner truth in his characters. Part One explores the family, showing how a person is trapped by heredity, space, time and communal hierarchy. Part Two deals with the individual and society, showing how societal conventions confined the characters. In Part Three, personal freedom is the centerpiece, showing how the characters develop a specific approach to life that leads to a coherent vision of the characters’ relationships with the world around them.
detailed…an exhaustive study”—Choice
on an examination of forty-nine of O’Neill’s plays and a
substantial number of scholarly works as well”—Theatre
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