Long Days Journey Into Night

Long Days Journey Into Night

Eugene O?Neill

In Long Day?s Journey into Night, widely regarded as his last and greatest true masterpiece, Eugene O?Neill gambles with his skill as an objective playwright by drawing potentially explosive material from his own life. Fortunately for both audiences and the author, who knew well the frustration of producing failed experiments, rather than being swallowed in sentimental self-pity and recriminations, the play contains much of O?Neill?s finest writing, and it maintains its reputation as a pinnacle in American theatre. The highly concentrated work deals with the serious personal issues of four family members as they unsuccessfully grapple with their individual failings and collective deterioration. Although external agents have introduced corruption into the Tyrone family, O?Neill uses his characters to show that withholding mutual support and efforts to understand one another in times of crisis brings sorrow and further familial decay. Although they sincerely love each other, the characters in O?Neill?s Long Day?s Journey isolate themselves from each other and the reality of their problems, and consequently they are unable to counter the corrupting influence of their personal demons.

The pervasive central image in the play, suggested as early as the very title, is that of the

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