Overview

A Moon for the Misbegotten


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

A: Eugene O'Neill W: 1943 Pf: 1947, Columbus, Ohio Pb: 1952 G: Drama in 4 acts S: Dilapidated farmhouse in Connecticut, September 1923 C: 4m, 1fJosie and her father Phil Hogan are tenants of a farm owned by James Tyrone Jr. Josie is a heavily built 28-year-old Irishwoman, noted for her promiscuity, who has designs on Tyrone, their dissipated landlord. Her father suggests that she should secure their tenancy by seducing Tyrone when he is drunk and there is a full moon, but she fears he prefers ‘Broadway tarts’ to ‘an ugly cow’ like herself. Tyrone comes, and he and Hogan exchange friendly insults, and together they all make fun of a millionaire neighbour who complains about their pigs coming on to his land. Tyrone has fallen in love with Josie, but is so full of self-loathing that he finds it hard to approach her. Josie now admits that her stories of promiscuity were invented to compensate for her unattractiveness, and that she is a virgin. She pulls him to her room, but he turns on her with cruel cynicism. Soothing him, she listens to his confession: how grief over his mother's death had driven him back to drink. She lulls him to sleep under the full moon. At dawn, he wakes grateful for the beauty of the night and the sense of absolution he now feels. He leaves her tenderly, knowing he will soon die. Hogan returns, admitting that he had hoped to have Tyrone as a son-in-law, and daughter and father resume their customary banter.

A: Eugene O'Neill W: 1943 Pf: 1947, Columbus, Ohio Pb: 1952 G: Drama in 4 acts S: Dilapidated farmhouse in Connecticut, September 1923 C: 4m, 1f

This last play by O'Neill is to some extent a sequel to Long Day's Journey into Night, but here the tone is gentler, funnier, and more optimistic. Significantly, such redemption as is possible in this world comes not from religion but from the love of a big-hearted woman, a goddess in the guise of a crude Irish farmhand.

Subjects: Theatre — Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


Reference entries
Authors

Eugene O'Neill (1888—1953) American dramatist


Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.