Long Day's Journey into Night by : Eugene O'Neill Characterization
Eugene O'Neill • He is generally regarded as America's finest playwright, was born on October 16, 1888, in New York City, the youngest son of James (a successful actor) and Mary Ellen (Quinlan) O'Neill. The family was Irish-Catholic, and O'Neill was sent to a Catholic boarding school and then to Betts Academy in Stamford, Connecticut, before enrolling at Princeton University in 1906. He left Princeton a year later. • O'Neill was emotionally scarred by his mother's addition to morphine, and the fact that it was his birth that precipitated her addiction. She tried to commit suicide in 1902.
• The year 1912 was a crucial one for O'Neill. He continued to drink heavily, and lacking stable employment, was forced to depend on his father for financial assistance. He attempted suicide by taking a drug overdose, and he also divorced his wife. During the summer and fall, his father took him to their summer house in New London, Connecticut. This is the period of O'Neill's life that appears in the character of Edmund in O'Neill's play, Long Day's Journey Into Night, which is set in 1912.
• O'Neill was established as the leading American dramatist of the day. • Strange Interlude, which lasted for nearly five hours in performance, is often regarded as the first play in which O'Neill revealed his full power as a dramatist. It won for him his third Pulitzer Prize. • In 1936, O'Neill won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first American dramatist to receive the award.
• prevented O'Neill writing any plays during the last decade of his life. He died of pneumonia on November 27, 1953, in Boston, Massachusetts
Introduction • Long Day's Journey Into Night, written in 1941 but not staged until three years after his death. This autobiographical play about the troubles of the O'Neill family won O'Neill's fourth Pulitzer Prize, in 1957.
• Long Day's Journey into Night was never performed during O'Neill's lifetime. On his twelfth wedding anniversary with his wife Carlotta, O'Neill gave her the script of the play with this note:
For Carlotta, on our 12 th Wedding Anniversary Dearest: I give you the original script of this play of old sorrow, written in tears and blood. A sadly inappropriate gift, it would seem, for a day celebrating happiness. But you will understand. I mean it as a tribute to your love and tenderness which gave me the faith in love that enable me to face my dead at last and write this play ? write it with deep pity and understanding and forgiveness for all the four haunted Tyrones. These twelve years, Beloved One, have been a Journey into Light ? into love. You know my gratitude. And my love! Gene Tao House July 22, 1941.
The play is deeply autobiographical. O'Neill, like • Edmund, was the child of a Broadway actor. The O'Neills were Irish-American, as are the Tyrones. Catholicism looms large in both families, with a religious father appalled by his sons' apparent rejection of the Church. O'Neill's father was an alcoholic, and like James Tyrone, he gave up a promising career as a Shakespearean actor for a part in a commercial but artistically worthless play called Monte Cristo. In the play, Tyrone speaks of this commercial success but never names it. O'Neill's mother in real-life was a morphine addict, and like Mary, became one after the birth of her youngest child. Jamie is also modeled after O'Neill's real-life brother, a dissolute alcoholic whoremonger who failed miserably at everything he put his hand to. And Eugene had an older brother named Edmund who died as a baby; in the play, the dead middle son is named Eugene
Character list • James Tyrone Husband of Mary and the father of Jamie and Edmund • Mary Tyrone The wife of Tyrone and mother of Jamie and Edmund • Jamie Tyrone The elder Tyrone son, he is in his early thirties • Edmund Tyrone The younger Tyrone son, he is ten years younger than Jamie
James Tyrone • James Tyrone is a vigorous, healthy man of sixty-five. His predominant trait, other than the fact that he drinks too much, is his miserliness, which is to blame for many of the family's troubles. Tyrone refuses to spend money on their summer house to make it pleasant for his wife, and he tries to send Edmund to a state sanatorium just to save money. Although he is comparatively well off, Tyrone lives in fear of ending his days in poverty. He tries to secure his future by investing in real estate, but he rarely makes a good deal. The origins of his miserliness lie in his childhood. His father deserted the family and at the age of ten, Tyrone was sent to work long hours in a machine shop. The family was always poor, and Tyrone learned, as he frequently puts it, the value of a dollar.
Tyrone is an actor who as a young man was considered • one of the most promising actors in America. But he squandered his talent by performing for years in a popular melodrama, thus getting typecast and ruining his chances of getting other, more challenging roles. He traded artistic excellence for financial success, and he bitterly regrets it. Tyrone is an Irish Catholic who despises his sons for rejecting the faith. He thinks Jamie is an idle, ungrateful loafer and has no respect for Edmund's reading in poetry and philosophy, denouncing Edmund's favorite authors as atheists and degenerates. Tyrone's great love is Shakespeare, and he thinks all other writers are inferior. • Tyrone has a genuine love for his wife, but is thrust into despair when she lapses back into her addiction. He knows the situation is hopeless.
Quotes. • "If he's ever had a loftier dream than whores and whiskey, he's never shown it. " Act 3 Tyrone speaks about Jamie.
Mary Tyrone • Mary Tyrone is fifty-four years old. She was once beautiful and still has a youthful figure, as well as a charming, innocent manner. But her manner also betrays extreme nervousness. Her hands are never still. They too were once beautiful, but have become gnarled and ugly through rheumatism.
• Mary was raised in a prosperous home and she was devoted to her father, who died of consumption. Educated in a convent, she wanted to become a nun or a concert pianist, and she looks back at this period as a happy time in her life. She was introduced to James Tyrone by her father, and fell in love with him immediately. But their life together, although initially happy, was hard on her. She had to travel a lot, stay in lonely, cheap hotels and eat bad food. Her husband refused to spend enough money to make their summer home a pleasant one. One son, Eugene, died when he was two, and Mary blames herself because she left the baby with her mother so that she could accompany her husband on his travels. Weakened by the strain of their lifestyle, Mary became sick after giving birth to Edmund. She was prescribed morphine by an incompetent doctor and became addicted to it. She also feels guilty about Edmund's bad health, since after Eugene's death she felt she was not worthy of being a mother and that God would punish her if she gave birth again.
• When the play begins, Mary has been home for two months after going away to get cured of her addiction, and Tyrone believes she has recovered. But it soon becomes obvious that she has not. She cannot face the fact that Edmund is seriously ill, claiming that he has nothing more than a common cold, and starts taking morphine again. This cushions her from reality, and as the play progresses she starts to live in the past, since the present is too painful for her to endure. By the end of the play, she has regressed completely into the past and talks as if she is still a girl at the convent
Quotes. • "None of us can help the things life has done to us. " Act 2, scene 1 Mary tries to excuse her son Jamie for his faults, but her comment reveals her attitude to herself as well. • "I hate doctors! They'll do anything-anything to keep you coming back to them. They'll sell their souls! What's worse, they'll sell yours, and you never know it till one day you find yourself in hell!" Act 2, scene 2 Mary gives vent to her anger. • "The past is the present, isn't it? It's the future, too. " Act 2, scene 2 Mary expresses her depressed vision of how people are slaves to what happened in the past.
Jamie Tyrone • Jamie Tyrone is thirty-three years old. Physically, he takes after his father, and has the same robust constitution. But Jamie is a cynical man who is wasting his life. He was expelled from every college he ever attended, although he did acquire some training as an actor. With the help of his father he has had some success in that profession on Broadway, but he never saves any money and is broke by the end of theater season.
• During the summer, he earns his keep at the Tyrones' summer home by taking care of the grounds. But he spends most of his time drinking whiskey and hanging out at the brothels in town. He and his father, who thinks he is a lazy, ungrateful, good-for-nothing, quarrel bitterly throughout the play. Jamie has been a huge disappointment for his father. He has also been a bad influence on his brother. At first he tries to deny this, saying that Edmund is stubborn and independent, but near the end of the play he admits that he has deliberately tried to make Edmund fail, since a successful brother would have made his own failure more galling.
Quotes. • “ if you can't be good you can at least be careful. " Act 1 Jamie summarizes the advice he gave to his younger brother. • "Happy roads is bunk. Weary roads is right. Get you nowhere fast. That's where I've got-nowhere. Where everyone lands in the end, even if more of the suckers won't admit it. " Act 4 Jamie finally confesses the truth about his own life. • "The Mad Scene. Enter Ophelia! " Act 4 Jamie's sardonic remark when his mother enters the room, apparently unaware of her surroundings
Edmund Tyrone • Edmund Tyrone is twenty-three years old and is the youngest member of the family. Unlike Jamie, he does not have his father's strong constitution, but takes more after his mother. He suffers from tuberculosis and must shortly go away to a sanatorium for treatment.
• Edmund has led a restless life. His older brother was a bad influence on him, and he was expelled from college. After that he went to sea, ending up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He knows what it is like to work hard for low pay. Often in South America he was broke and slept on park benches because he had nowhere else to go. Once he tried to commit suicide. At the time the play takes place, Edmund has a job as a reporter on a local newspaper, in which he also publishes some of his poems. His father hopes that he is now on the road to success, having found something he wants to do.
• Edmund rejects the Catholicism of his father and is well read in modern poetry and philosophy. He has a gloomy attitude to life. Fond of his mother, he holds out hope for her as long as he possibly can, longer than the cynical Jamie. He has many resentments against his father, especially when Tyrone wants to send him to a cheap sanatorium. But by the end of the play he has a deeper understanding of why his father behaves the way he does. He also learns to understand the lovehate relationship he has with Jamie.
Quotes. • . "Everything looked and sounded unreal. Nothing was what it is. That's what I wanted-to be alone with myself in another world where truth is untrue and life can hide from itself. " Act 4 Edmund speaks of his feelings as he walked home in the fog. • "I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky. " Act 4 Edmund tells his father about the ecstasy of some of his experiences at sea. • “ For a second you see-and seeing the secret are the secret. For a second there is meaning. " Act 4 Edmund talks about the meaning of his peak experiences at sea.
Done by : • Siham Ali Al-Shehri • Huda Muhammad Al-Faify • Bodour Gabal Al-Solmi • Nawal Safar Al- Amri • Nouf Al-Otaibi