The Ending to Eugene O'Neil's Long Day's Journey Into Night

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The Ending to Eugene O'Neil's Long Day's Journey Into Night It is understandable that so many people in our class did not find the last act of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night a satisfying one; there is no tidy ending, no goodbye kisses or murder confessions; none of the charaters leave the stage with flowers in their hands or with smiles on their faces and none of the characters give explanatory monologues after the curtain falls, as we've become accustomed to by reading so much Shakespeare. O'Neill, though, isn't Shakespeare and Long Days Journey Into Night is as different from, say, A Midsummer's Night Dream or Twelfth Night than a pint of stout ale is from a glass of light chardonney. It is because of the uniqueness of the play that the final act is so fitting a conclusion, and it is because of the essence of the play that there is closure in the final scene and it is because of hte nature of hte play that the final act carries upon its shoulders as powerful an impact as any other ending put upon an American stage. The reason that many people did not find the end of hte play a real conclusion is because of the fact that Long Day's Jounrey Into Night is not a play of action, like almost all other plays are. It is set within a single room during the course of a single day, and it consists mainly of long monologue and bitter banter rather than movement or plot development, but there is a reason that O'Neill does this; his play is not one where characters move from place to place and experience various dilemnas and need to work their way out through the course of a beginning, middle and end. LDJIN is a play of introspection, a play of confession, understanding and ultimately, a play of understanding, and it... ... middle of paper ... ...e puts it, absolved of their sins. For the first three acts they do little more than bicker, trading insult at every opportunity that arises. In the final act, as the characters stop their stammering and speak, for the first time, from their hearts, we come to understand what it is that has made them so bitter and resentful towards one another, and it is here and through this understanding that we can forgive each of them for what they've miserable, suffering people that they've become. Eugene O'Neill wrote the play in the later part of his life in many ways for this reason: to forgive his family and absolve them from the harsh opinions which permeate his earlier works. Forgiving is not an easy thing to do, though (O'Neill eludes to the pain it caused to write LDJIN in his dedication), and, as a result, LDJIN is not an easy play to understand or to sit through.

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