Chapter

Religion and the Death of Death

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226148823.003.0010
Religion and the Death of Death

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Eugene O'Neill's encounter with religion was as much personal as philosophical, and it is understandable that he would be attracted to Friedrich Nietzsche and think that he could regard the once-shocking saying “God is dead” as a celebration. O'Neill felt deeply the dualisms of philosophy, particularly between matter and spirit, experience and meaning, and the individual and society. The conflict between science and religion divides two families in O'Neill's Dynamo. During the years immediately preceding Lazarus Laughed and The Great God Brown, O'Neill was confronted by sickness and death. Death is a meditative dread to O'Neill during the writing of Lazarus Laughed, and a possible answer to facing death becomes the central theme. He made his last effort at treating religion on the stage in Days Without End. It can be stated that O'Neill may have used the theater to deal with religious questions.

Keywords: religion; death; Eugene O'Neill; science; Dynamo; Lazarus Laughed; The Great God Brown; Days Without End

Chapter.  10482 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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