Recovering briefly at the age of 24, he held a job for a few months as a reporter and contributor to the poetry column of the New London Telegraph but soon came down with tuberculosis. A theatre critic persuaded his father to send him to Harvard to study with George Pierce Baker in his famous playwriting course. In their tiny, ramshackle playhouse on a wharf, they produced his one-act sea play Bound East for Cardiff.
By the time his first full-length play, Beyond the Horizon, was produced on Broadway , February 2, , at the Morosco Theater, the young playwright already had a small reputation. Between and he completed 20 long plays—several of them double and triple length—and a number of shorter ones. He wrote and rewrote many of his manuscripts half a dozen times before he was satisfied, and he filled shelves of notebooks with research notes, outlines, play ideas, and other memoranda.
His most-distinguished short plays include the four early sea plays, Bound East for Cardiff, In the Zone, The Long Voyage Home, and The Moon of the Caribbees, which were written between and and produced in under the overall title S. Glencairn; The Emperor Jones about the disintegration of a Pullman porter turned tropical-island dictator ; and The Hairy Ape about the disintegration of a displaced steamship coal stoker.
This story of a lustful father, a weak son, and an adulterous wife who murders her infant son was told with a fine disregard for the conventions of the contemporary Broadway theatre. Because of the sparseness of its style, its avoidance of melodrama, and its total honesty of emotion, the play was acclaimed immediately as a powerful tragedy and has continued to rank among the great American plays of the 20th century.
Buy Lesson Plan Beyond the Horizon by Eugene O'Neill: Read 1 Kindle Store Reviews - rapyzure.tk The Beyond the Horizon lesson plan contains a variety of teaching materials that cater to all learning styles. Inside you'll find 30 Daily Lessons, 20 Fun Activities.
Although the play was too metaphysically intricate to be staged successfully when it was first produced, in , it was significant for its symbolic use of masks and for the experimentation with expressionistic dialogue and action—devices that since have become commonly accepted both on the stage and in motion pictures.
In spite of its confusing structure, the play is rich in symbolism and poetry, as well as in daring technique, and it became a forerunner of avant-garde movements in American theatre. This play was revolutionary in style and length: when first produced, it opened in late afternoon, broke for a dinner intermission, and ended at the conventional hour. The play is the saga of Everywoman, who ritualistically acts out her roles as daughter, wife, mistress, mother, and platonic friend. Although it was innovative and startling in , its obvious Freudian overtones have rapidly dated the work.
Based on the Oresteia trilogy by Aeschylus, it was itself three plays in one. Dealing with the growing pains of a sensitive, adolescent boy, Ah, Wilderness! It is straightforward in style but shattering in its depiction of the agonized relations between father, mother, and two sons. Spanning one day in the life of a family, the play strips away layer after layer from each of the four central figures, revealing the mother as a defeated drug addict, the father as a man frustrated in his career and failed as a husband and father, the older son as a bitter alcoholic, and the younger son as a tubercular, disillusioned youth with only the slenderest chance for physical and spiritual survival.
In the late s he conceived of a cycle of 11 plays, to be performed on 11 consecutive nights, tracing the lives of an American family from the early s to modern times.
He wrote scenarios and outlines for several of the plays and drafts of others but completed only one in the cycle— A Touch of the Poet —before a crippling illness ended his ability to hold a pencil. Unable to work, he longed for his death and sat waiting for it in a Boston hotel, seeing no one except his doctor, a nurse, and his third wife, Carlotta Monterey.
Through his efforts, the American theatre grew up during the s, developing into a cultural medium that could take its place with the best in American fiction, painting, and music. Until his Beyond the Horizon was produced, in , Broadway theatrical fare, apart from musicals and an occasional European import of quality, had consisted largely of contrived melodrama and farce. Imbued with the tragic sense of life, he aimed for a contemporary drama that had its roots in the most powerful of ancient Greek tragedies—a drama that could rise to the emotional heights of Shakespeare.
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Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. Facts Matter. Start Your Free Trial Today. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. His first full-length play, Beyond the Horizon , was successfully produced in He worked with the Provincetown Players before his plays were commercially produced.
In , O'Neill enrolled at Princeton University, but his heart wasn't in his studies, and he was either dismissed for missing too many classes or left after only 10 months at the school. After leaving Princeton, Eugene O'Neill floundered for a time. He took several sea voyages, ran around town with brother James and indulged heavily in alcohol.
In , O'Neill battled tuberculosis. While recuperating from his illness, he found his calling as a playwright, finding inspiration from such European dramatists as August Strindberg and later enrolling in a writing class at Harvard University. O'Neill had his first play produced in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in Bound East for Cardiff , a one-act play that was staged in New York later that year.
Also in , O'Neill made a second attempt at domestic bliss.
He married fellow writer Agnes Boulton, and the couple eventually had two children together, son Shane and daughter Oona. O'Neill took the theatrical world by storm in with Beyond the Horizon , which won a Pulitzer Prize. In , O'Neill brought his drama Anna Christie to the Broadway stage; this tale of a prostitute's return home netted the playwright his second Pulitzer Prize.
O'Neill suffered a personal loss with the death of his brother the following year. By this time, the playwright had also lost both of his parents.
But O'Neill's private struggles seemed to aid him in creating greater dramatic works for the stage, including Desire Under the Elms and Strange Interlude Around this time, O'Neill left his second wife and quickly began a relationship with Carlotta Monterey, whom he married in Five years later, he became the first American playwright to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was given this honor "for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy," according to the Nobel Prize website. O'Neill completed Long Day's Journey Into Night in the early s, but he refused to have this autobiographical play produced until long after his death.
Around this same time, he had a falling out with daughter Oona; he chose to end his relationship with Oona after she married actor Charlie Chaplin. After several years' absence from the stage, in , O'Neill returned with one of his most heralded works, The Iceman Cometh , a dark drama that explores the lives of a group of barflies.
The following year, the playwright learned that he had Parkinson's disease, and found it impossible to write due to the tremors in his hands. In , O'Neill, never a supportive parent, cut ties with his youngest son, Shane, after Shane was arrested for drug possession. Two years later, his eldest son, Eugene, committed suicide. Eugene Gladstone O'Neill died of bronchial pneumonia on November 27, , at the age of 65, in Boston, Massachusetts, leaving behind a tremendous literary legacy of more than 50 plays.