Date of Award

12-1974

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Theatre Arts

First Advisor

Mr. Dennis Holt

Abstract

The American theatre owes the place it has in the world scene to many lives and their efforts, to people who helped bring it along in the slow development. Nevertheless, few would deny that if one person could be said to be most responsible for that development, that person would be Eugene O'Neill. It was O'Neill that first made the other parts of the world stand up and take notice of the American stage. And what they noticed were the plays of O'Neill. He remains to this day one of the two or three best know American authors in foreign countries, as well as one of the most performed playwrights. The four Pulitzer prizes and the Nobel prize he won show the gratitude of his contemporaries. The critics reviews of the 1973 Broadway revival of A Moon for the Misbegotten show the gratitude of a new generation.

Because of the influence O'Neill has had, and the preeminence he enjoys with America's playwrights, we undertook to study his plays and his life, and see what conclusions we could draw. This is what we hoped to do here, to draw conclusions. Since the main emphasis in the study was laid upon the reading, this will be a rather brief introduction. We will talk fist about the major and recurring themes in O'Neill's plays, then his weaknesses, and finally his strengths.

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