A study of pipe dreams in the last plays of Eugene O'Neill

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Naomi Grace Stout (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Donald Darnell

Abstract: The characters in four of Eugene O'Neill's last plays--A Touch of the Poet, The Iceman Cometh, Long Day's Journey into Night, and A Moon for the Misbegotten--have inherited aspirations for an ideal world which cannot be satisfied in the realm to which they are doomed to exist. The confines of their environment exasperate them, so they dream into an imaginative world where all is beautiful and good. Because they are living in two worlds--one of reality, the other of imagination—they are continually tortured by the deep longing of their dreams and by the harsh reality of their surroundings. The result is mounting despair. The aim of this thesis is to study the dilemma and the answer O'Neill gives through the words of Larry Slade in The Iceman Cometh, namely, that "it is the lie of the pipe dream that gives life to the whole misbegotten mad lot of us, drunk or sober." This illusion brings order out of the chaos of the present but incapacitates man for meaningful action. The only alternative is death.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1968
O'Neill, Eugene, $d 1888-1953 $x Criticism and interpretation
O'Neill, Eugene, $d 1888-1953 $x Characters

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