The optimist sees the rose and not its thrones; the pessimist stares at the thrones, oblivious to the rose. There are two types of people in the world—optimistic and pessimistic. Optimistic persons always look the positive side of the thing even in tragic consequences and live a cheerful life. On the other hand, pessimistic persons always look at the dark side of a thing even in happy conditions. The negative attitude of these persons makes their life tragic and full of tension.
Economic depression, rapid social change, disillusionment and pessimism became the dark social realities of the modern age. It is in the twentieth century that man’s faith in the accepted values and established institutions of life were shattered with the result that man found himself lonely. The literature of the century in general and drama in particular, became powerful expression of this sense of nihilism. It was taken up and expressed beautifully by Eugene O’Neill in his almost each expressionistic play.
Eugene Gladstone O’Neill, Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1936, is one of the few American playwrights of the twentieth century to acquire world stature and reputation. It was O’Neill who, though deeply influenced by the classical drama, started modern American drama. He was an analyst of the American society and of the human situation.The cause of the sickness of today was the death of the old God and the failure to find a new one and the duty of the modern playwright was to dig at the roots of the sickness of today. Life, without God has no meaning and the fear of death cannot be comforted. In the modern times, the term “behind-life” relates to O’Neill’s concept of Fate and it suggests the existence of an extern…
…erature. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech he declared:I feel so deeply that it is not only my work which is being honored but work of all my colleagues in America—that the Nobel Prize is a symbol of the coming of age of the American theatre. (Goyal 39)
Clark, Barrett H. Eugene O’Neill: The Man and His Plays. New York; Dover Publication, 1947.
Falk, Doris Virginia. Eugene O’Neill and the Tragic Tension: An Interpretative Study of the Play. New Brunswick, N.J.:Rutegers University Press,1958.
Gassner, John. O’Neill: A Collection of Critical Essays. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1964.
Goyal, Bhagwat Swarup. O’Neill and His Plays. New Delhi: Arti Book Centre, 1970.
Raleigh, John Henry. The Plays of Eugene O’Neill. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1965.
Sharma, N.K. O’Neill’s Dramatic Vision. New Delhi: Educational Publishers, 1985.