The Playwright as Thinker

Edited by John Patrick Diggins

in Eugene O'Neill's America

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780226148809
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226148823 | DOI:
The Playwright as Thinker

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  • Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)


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The Iceman Cometh was one of the last Eugene O'Neill completed and the very last of his enduring works that he lived to see produced on stage. Its unsuccessful debut may have had less to do with the promising social conditions of the time than with the shortcomings of the director and the actors involved in the first production. Criticisms of O'Neill's plays long antedated the performance of his post-World War II productions. His Nietzschean perspective played havoc with the socialist assumption that the masses were capable of rising to class consciousness. He was also a dramatist of ideas, and the philosophical outlooks of Freidrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer, Oswald Spengler, and others run through his plays. In O'Neill's America, there is no clear presence of authority, no firm voice informing people what they should do or not do. Furthermore, O'Neill addressed the revolutionary Wobblies of the World War I years.

Keywords: Eugene O'Neill; The Iceman Cometh; Freidrich Nietzsche; Arthur Schopenhauer; Oswald Spengler; America

Chapter.  9064 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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