Eugene O’Neill by Normand Berlin (auth.)

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By Normand Berlin (auth.)

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O'Neill offers little by way of theatrical ornamentation, which is surprising because he revels in the theatricality of theatre. ) Like all great plays, Long Day's Journey repays repeated exposure, as a dramatic text (which formed the basis of my discussion) and as a performed work of art. Different actors will shift the play's balances and sym- 21 Eugene O'Neill pathies. Because the main character of Long Day's Journey is the family itself, the play has no one starring role. Given the nature of performance, however, this kind of ensemble emphasis is difficult to achieve.

In the play's beginning, the men - representing different countries and speaking in different dialects - noisily mock the boastful claims of Cocky, their raucous laughter silenced by the groans of the dying Yank. At play's end, Cocky whose words begin and end the play - mocks the silently praying Driscoll, who is reacting to the death of his friend Yank. ', which he exclaimed when he told his tall story about the 'bloomin' nigger', now is repeated as he stands in wonderment at both the death of Yank and the uncharacteristic praying of Driscoll.

You understand. You're a damned fine kid. Ought to be. I made you. So go and get well. Don't die on me. You're all I've got left. ' His confession is agony for Edmund, who 'buries his face in his hands miserably'. Small wonder, for Edmund has been forced to recognize the jealousy and hatred behind the love and companionship his brother had always displayed. A young man is discovering bitter truths behind appearances. Edmund must now live with a new image of Jamie, which does not negate the love he feels for his brother, but modifies it, with understanding perhaps making it stronger.

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