Eugene Gladstone O’Neill´s Life and his Plays

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Eugene Gladstone O’Neill’s life is reflected throughout his plays in order to let out his true feelings. Eugene O’Neill was born in October on the 16, 1888. He was born in New York City, New York, in a hotel on forty-third and Broadway. For the first seven years of his life, he traveled with his parents. James O’Neill, his father, was among the top actors of his time and his mother, Ellen Quinlan, did not work, she only followed James from stage to stage. They traveled with the famous melodrama, The Count of Monte Cristo, which his father acted in. Right from the start, O’Neill was growing up with plays all around him (143). Eugene’s early education came from different Catholic schools. From 1895-1900, he attended St. Aloysius Academy for boys in Riverdale, New York, and from 1900-1902 he went to De La Salle Institute in New York. After the De La Salle Institute, he attended a preparatory school, Betts Academy in Stanford, Connecticut. From 1906-1907, he attended Princeton. After a year, he was kicked out for breaking a window in a stationmaster’s house. Throughout these years of education his home life, or life on the road, wasn’t very good. According to George H. Jensen in the Dictionary of Literary Biography , Eugene’s home life was crucial to the plays that he wrote. Filled with guilt, betrayal, and accusations, it is, sometimes hard to see and sometimes Castellari 2 very easy for us to see. Ellen Quinlan O’Neill felt betrayal when three months after her marriage, James was accused by Nettie Walsh of being her husband and the father of her child. Jamie, Ellen’s firstborn, passed the measles to Edmund, her second born, who died shortly afterward. Ellen became a drug addict after a doctor gave her morphine while getting better after Eugene’s birth. Later, she blamed her addiction on James, her husband. She said that he was too miserly to pay for a good doctor (141-142). This is almost the exact plot of the play Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Most of his entire home life was developed into his plays. His feeling about his mother being a drug addict were presented in the play Long Day’s Journey Into Night (156). "His early years were profoundly affected by the pressures of his mother’s recurring mental illness and drug addiction and by his tempestuous relationship with his father, a discordant family situation that he later drew upon when writing Long Day’s Journey into Night" (Poupard 156).

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