In Eugene O’Neill’s play A Long Day’s Journey into Night, the main protagonist, Mary Tyrone, functions as an instrument of suffering of others. Her sons Jamie and Edmund both suffer internal tragedies that could easily be blamed on her. Like her sons, her husband Tyrone faces his own internal conflicts, some of which are because of Mary. Mary Tyrone is a “recovering” addict who has an extremely hard time admitting her problem and is sometimes in denial about her problem. Her denial is a huge factor in the suffering that her sons and husband have.
Jamie, Mary’s eldest son, is an alcoholic that undermines his brother. In the earlier half of the play the reader learns from Tyrone that Jamie hates Edmund and is extremely jealous and angry towards him. This becomes evident later on the in the play when Jamie tells Edmund how he feels using terms such as “Mama’s baby and Papa’s pet…” (167), showing the reader his envious feelings.
Jamie is jealous towards Edmund and resents the fact that he was ever born. Because all of Jamie’s jealousy is due to Edmund’s birth, the true blame and jealousy is toward Mary for giving birth to Edmund. Jamie knows, as well as Mary, knows that the reason for Edmund’s birth was due to the loss of her second son Eugene. After Eugene died Mary felt lost and empty and decided to give birth to a third child, Edmund, in hopes of helping her cope with the loss of her second son. Knowing this adds to Jamie’s jealousy towards Edmund and his bitterness towards his mother.
Not only is Jamie angry at his mother for having Edmund, he is angry at her for being in denial of her problem. He knows that his mother is a morphine addict but cannot accept the fact that she won’t admit she is back into her habit. Her addiction causes his addiction. Jamie’s anger towards his mother’s obsession causes him to drink. The more Mary denies her action the more Jamie drinks. Although he is aware of her addiction, he tries...