American drama. E. O’Neill, A. Miller – Сustom Literature essay

The American "Big theatre" of the 19th century was focused on entertainment and melodrama. The little Theatre movement started at the beginning of the 20th century. It was a revolt against big theatres whose main interest was making money. Among the most important of them was a regular theatrical group the Provincetown players because it was-connected with E. O'Neill (1888-1953). O'Neill made American drama a form of literature, introducing deep psychological treatment of human characters and also new types of characters, themes and styles to the stage. His father was an actor playing practically one melodramatic role all his life. O'Neill despised such type of commercial theatre the success of which mostly depended upon spectacular effects, large casts and melodramatic plots. He turned away from his family and became a sailor for a couple of years. His first play is "Bound East for Cardiff (1916). The mood of his plays is dark and heavy. Fate is shown as one of the forces governing our life. By the end of the 1920s he got interested in Freud's psychoanalysis and became one of the first playwrights to study the struggle inside a character's mind between conscious and unconscious needs. He also takes the stream-of-consciousness technique from the novel and adapts it to drama. Techniques drawn from Greek tragedy and psychoanalysis characterize his trilogy "Mourning Becomes Electra" (1931) (траур к лицу Электре) and "Strange Interlude" (1928). His last plays become increasingly autobiographical. "Long Day's Journey into Night" (1956) is one of his best plays. It is about spiritual and physical health problems of a family which is obviously the author's family. The action takes place in a single day. The mood is bitter and gloomy. Each member of the family is unhappy and guilty of making the rest of the family unhappy. In 1936 he won the Nobel Prize for literature.

The world of A. Miller (1915) is realistic and his plays are intellectual, created to prove an intellectual point. The problem of an individual's responsibility is raised: it is said that we all have to pay for our mistakes. Miller's plays show a deep faith and conviction that moral truth can be found in the human world. The play "Death of a salesman" (1949) proves that life is a failure because of the falseness of American dream, the dream of success. One оf his wives was Marilyn Monro.




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Mann Erudite – Essays on Literary Works