Eugene O Neill S Autobiographical Play Long Day S Journey Into Night Is Regarded As His Finest Work First Published By Yale University Press In , It Won The Pulitzer Prize In And Has Since Sold Than One Million Copies This Edition Includes A New Foreword By Harold BloomThe Action Covers A Fateful, Heart Rending Day From Around Am To Midnight, In August At The Seaside Connecticut Home Of The Tyrones The Semi Autobiographical Representations Of O Neill Himself, His Older Brother, And Their Parents At Their Home, Monte Cristo CottageOne Theme Of The Play Is Addiction And The Resulting Dysfunction Of The Family All Three Males Are Alcoholics And Mary Is Addicted To Morphine They All Constantly Conceal, Blame, Resent, Regret, Accuse And Deny In An Escalating Cycle Of Conflict With Occasional Desperate And Half Sincere Attempts At Affection, Encouragement And Consolation The first time I ever saw Albee s Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf I could not quite believe that people could drink that much and live And I thought this despite the fact that I come from a drinking family The alcohol in Albee s play operates not so much as a numbing agent, but as an alchemic incendiary to the verbal abuse that transforms four intelligent people into harpies of the worst kind In O Neill s play, the focus is also on four people, members of an Irish American family a father, mother, and two grown sons although there is also a slack jawed servant All the dialogue and action take place in the family s summer house, and the time occurring in a single day can be measured by the diminishing level of the whiskey bottle Make that bottles, plural The drinking is breathtaking, horrible, and cruel The pendulum that swings between love and hate, forgiveness and acid recrimination, past and present, only stops when all the men in the family nearly annihilated with booze stop to watch mother and wife slip into a morphine induced fugue about the sweetness of her fantasized past before her husband and sons ever came into her life She s awful All passive aggressive nasty sweetness MARY I ve always hated this town and everyone in it You know that I never wanted to live here in the first place, but your father liked it and insisted on building this house, and I ve had to come here every summer.EDMUNDWell, it s better than spending the summer in a New York hotel, isn t it And this town s not so bad I like it well enough I suppose because it s the only home we ve had.MARYI ve never felt it was my home It was wrong from the start Everything was done in the cheapest way Your father would never spend the money to make it right It s just as well we haven t any friends here I d be ashamed to have them step in the door O Neill s play is an extraordinary disturbing family tragedy where love and it s surely there cannot be kept alive The deep animosity between the family members undercuts any affection they feel for each other at every turn It s a blame game Not a single one of them is willing to acknowledge their own part in the emotional violence Jamie, the eldest son, is a failure at being the actor his father once was and has descended into alcoholism and whoremongering He spends his last borrowed dime on Fat Violet while his brother and Father futilely hope he won t come home The father, accurately accused of being cheap, is willing to save a buck by sending his ailing son to a public sanitorium The younger son Edmund, busy aggravating his Shakespeare loving father by quoting Beaudelaire and Rossetti, is listless and pathetic The family is a Freudian delight Each character has a central core of anger so deep that it s become the only emotional security they know Not one of them is willing to give it up Instead, in order to feel something, anything, they drink to intensify the joy they feel in blaming someone else for their pain When the curtain falls on the night s end, I know that the morning will be the same I can see the influence O Neill must have had on Edward Albee, especially in Virginia Woolf Is it a particularly American story Perhaps O Neill is, after all, described as the father of American drama, and this is his most autobiographical play But the family dynamics are profoundly human, and I would guess that somewhere in its pages a human being anywhere in the world might recognize one or of his her own worst traits. Read for class Nope not a fan How could you believe me when I can t believe myself I ve become such a liar Mary Tyrone in Eugene O Neill s LONG DAY S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT IIii I believe Eugene O Neill s LONG DAY S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT to be the greatest American play ever written, as well as the greatest play of the 20th century It fascinates me that as most playwright s talents wane as they age, O Neill s grew stronger with each passing year To have written LONG DAY S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, THE ICEMAN COMETH, A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN, and HUGHIE at the end of his life is a testament to his talent Writing these plays must have been pure hell for O Neill He wrote in longhand, suffering a severe Parkinsons like tremor in his hands which was extremely painful It was impossible for him to write during the last 10 years of his life I can only imagine the works he would have produced had this affliction not robbed us of his talent.LONG DAY S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT focuses on James Tyrone, an aging actor, Mary, his morphine addicted wife, Edmund and Jamie, their two adult sons, both alcoholics.Random thoughts LONG DAY S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT is a ghost play it is memory than reality As the light moves from day to night during the course of this long painful day, the fog seems to seep through the walls The foghorn a constant reminder of old sorrows As Mary says,The past is the present, isn t it It s the future, too IIiiLONG DAY S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT is not a linear play Yes, the action moves from day to night, but as the dialogue becomes fueled and by whiskey and morphine, the past is repeated over and over again, becoming vicious, accusatory.There are four addicts living in this house, not one But Mary s addiction leaves her isolated Drinking is socially acceptable, drug addiction is not Drug addiction is mysterious Morphine separates Mary from her family Mary s addiction is dirty.Mary is a master of deceit She even acknowledges this Each and everyone of the Tyrones is fascinating, and each is brilliantly written, complex and real We know these people Again, the past is the present Mary is the most fascinating of the Tyrones She controls and manipulates every moment while she is on stage Yet, Mary is barely in control of herself Mary is cruel in ways the others are not She attacks like a cornered feline.O Neill s language, so simple, so powerful As James says, Edmund does have a touch of the poet in him.At the close of the play, all four of the Tyrones are still on stage lost in the past Mary s pastThen in the spring something happened to me Yes, I remember I fell in love with James Tyrone and was so happy for a time IVIt is one of the most beautiful moments in the history of theatre. None of us can help the things life has done to us Long Day s Journey into Night is considered a classic of American drama, and it deserves that distinction This text is a searing look into the intricacies of family, addiction, jealously, work, health, poverty, wealth and love It has something to say about all of those topics and doing all that successfully is a monumental task in and of itself To do all of that well is astounding.The play follows a day in the life of the Tyrone family Husband and wife Mary and James, and their two adult sons, Jamie and Edmund Although the play is certainly no comedy there is a black Irish sense of humor that pervades the piece At times, it is unnerving The family is currently living together although each member is very isolated and hiding behind the lies that we all tell ourselves in order to gloss over our weaknesses or failures Every reader will recognize themselves in the denial and lack of self awareness that all humans suffer from to some extent The Tyrone family just happens to be in the nexus of a perfect storm of all of these elements in the moment of the play s action.A huge element of this text are the stage directions and notes, which compose a large part of the play and are massively important to its success as a piece of literature and drama At times, they convey meaning than some of the dialogue, and that is not a criticism In fact the note stage directions are almost narrative at times, and while reading this play it can feel like a novel.Eugene O Neill never intended for this semi autobiographical play to be performed it was not even published until after his death but we are lucky that it was Its portrait of four people is unnerving in its depth of characterization and just plain ole humanness We will find bits of ourselves in the Tyrone family For good or ill, it is there.As one character says We ve loved each other We always will Let s remember only that, and not try to understand what we cannot understand, or help things that cannot be helped the things life has done to us we cannot excuse or explain That is a plea all of us could make at one time or another.The universal tragedy or power of this play is its exploration of the things that we say and sometimes don t say to the people we love the most.
Eugene Gladstone O Neill was an American playwright who won the 1936 Nobel Prize in Literature for the power, honesty and deep felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy More than any other dramatist, O Neill introduced American drama to the dramatic realism pioneered by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and Swedish playwr
- 179 pages
- Long Day's Journey Into Night
- Eugene O'Neill
- 24 May 2018 Eugene O'Neill