Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Long Day's Journey Into Night, 49/81, 2nd Round

Long Day's Journey Into Night, by Eugene O'Neill, play category

The Tyrones - mother, father, and two sons - spend a day more or less together in the country. Within the course of that day, we see all sorts of nasty little secrets that were only suggested in the first act.

This is the first O'Neill play I have read, and I have to say that I found it excellent. Not much fun, but really well done. The theme, to me, was that of excuses, excuses. The entire family has someone - someone else, that is - to blame for being the way they are. Mary blames her husband, her dead son, Edmund, life in general, not having her own house, her circumstances. Tyrone senior blames his difficult childhood, his lost chances. Both sons blame their parents. But in the end, every character admits the truth of why they are the way they are.

Every character except Mary. Despite many chances to admit the truth - she is a drug addict - she denies to the very end. And it is the difference between the men in the play, with their ultimate honesty, and Mary's self-deception that makes me angry with her and feel empathy for the others.

There is a chance, a small one, but still a chance, that Edmund will get well, that Tyrone will stop drinking, that Jamie will branch out on his own. But Mary is stuck where she is, dreaming and lying through her life.

Like I said, this wasn't exactly a fun play, but it was extremely realistic. Very well done and highly recommended.

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