In the play Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill, the Tyrone family is haunted not by what is present in flesh facing them, but by memories and constant reminders of what has been the downfall of the family for years. " No it can never be now. But it was once, before you-" (72) [James Tyrone referring to the Morphine addiction of his wife, Mary, which attributed to the undoing of the family]. Their trials and tribulations are well documented by O'Neill through the proficient utilization of theme, characterization, plot, setting, and style.
Throughout the play, O'Neill's theme is one of a disclosure into the life of a seemingly normal family on the outside yet convoluted with bitterness on the inside. It portrays the actions of a dysfunctional family and brings us on a reflective journey from when the fledgling family had started, devoted to one another with high hopes for the future, to what it is today, a family engulfed in turmoil. "Who would have thought Jamie would grow up to disgrace us
Its such a pity
You brought him up to be a boozer." (110) In this excerpt from Mary's conversation with James regarding their son, it is obvious that their life had taken a 180-degree turn from when their offspring were mere children with promise.
Characterization throughout the play helps us not only to understand the characters' actions but also to see into the soul of each and to comprehend their thoughts and emotions, essentially assessing the motives for their actions. Early in the play, Mary is perceived to be a common, traditional housewife "She is dressed simply
she has the simple, unaffected charm of a shy covenant-girl youthfulness she has never lost-an innate worldly innocence." (13) Yet as the play progresses, she is portrayed in a different light. "I hope, sometime, without meaning it, I will take an overdose. I never could do it deliberately. The Blessed Virgin could never forgive me, then."...
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