Mountaineer Undergraduate Research Review

Document Type



Since its premiere in Stockholm in the winter of 1956, Long Day's Journey Into Night has been the holy grail of dramaturges around the world. It is the quintessential psychological thriller—entirely autobiographical yet universal in its depiction of stubbornly faithful and hateful familial ties. Suffering in the public domain for the duration of his life and career, playwright Eugene O'Neill finally put pen to paper and exorcised his life's demons in the conceptualization of this preeminent work. Heretofore, most analyses of the play have been of its character, Edmund, as representative of O'Neill himself. This work attempts to delve into the deeper waters of the play, connecting layers of each character's psyche to that of the playwright at various junctures throughout his life as they are made clear via O'Neill's prismatic authorial voice. Through text analysis, connections are formed between lines in the context of the play itself and their underlying meanings in the context of the author's human experience. In this way, this article finds Long Day's Journey Into Night as a character alone in its entirety, an all-encompassing self portrait of the poet. This article aims to articulate the capabilities of dramaturgy as more than text analysis, but as a means to finding deeper artistic significance within the fabric of known and unknown plays alike.



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