Eugene Gladstone O’Neill was a very talented man and was very fortunate in having the writing skill he did. Eugene was a man of the theater, he was born in it, lived in it, worked in it and wrote in it. (Henry, “Eugene O’Neill”, p.157.) O’Neill is referred to as the most important twentieth century writer, not because he was the first american playwright but because of the influence of his work on the development of the american theater and on other writers. O’Neill said “The theater to me is life- the substance and Interpretation of life............. [And] life is struggle, often, if not usually, unsuccessful struggle.” (Henry, “Eugene O’Neill”, p.157.) O’Neill has achieved an international reputation throughout the world, his plays and stories are the subject of countless books and articles.
Eugene was born at the Barrett Hotel in New York on Oct, 16 1888. His father James O’Neill was one of Americas most popular 19th Century actors, who was imprisoned by the material success of his role as the Count of Monte Cristo. Eugene’s mother Ellen Quinlan O’Neill was a romantic and idealistic women who was affected most of her life by an addiction to morphine.
During his childhood Eugene attended the Mount Vincent Catholic Boarding School between the years 1895 and 1900. After leaving Mount Vincent Eugene attended Bett’s Academy in Stanford Connecticut from 1900 to 1906. In 1906 Eugene was accepted to Princeton University but before completing one year he got expelled.
After getting expelled from Princeton he spent 5 or 6 years as a drifter and a sailor traveling on journeys to the Honduras, South America and Europe. (Strecker,“Eugene O’Neill”,p.1535.)By 1912 O’Neill had been a gold prospector, a seaman and was a regular at many New York Cities flop houses. While he was on one of his expeditions as a seaman he developed the disease Tuberculosis which put him in the Gaylord Farm Sanatorium on December 24, 1912. This little experience with the hospital and the disease was the most important turning point in his life. While he was in the hospital he read a lot of modern drama and was inspired to become a playwright. After he recovered from Tuberculosis he studied playwriting at George Pierce Baker’s Workshop 47 at Harvard University. (Strecker,“Eugene O’Neill”,p.1535.) In 1916 O’Neill became associated with the province town players, they produced several of his plays in the following years.
Eugene was fortunate in having several of his first plays produced. This helped his name get known and for people to get interested in his stories. His plays have been staged throughout the world and transformed into film and opera. O’Neill’s first play he wrote which was a success was “The Emperor Jones” produced by the Provincetown Players in 1920. In 1944 O’neill was infected with a debilitating muscular disease. But it was during these last 9 years of his life that he wrote his finest plays. O’Neill’s writing career consisted of three periods, first it was realism- plays based on Eugenes personal experiences in life, the second was expressionistic- influenced by Friedreich Nietesche, psychologists Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Swedish playwright August Steindbers. And his third was realism- these were his later works, which critics consider the best, depended on his life experiences for story lines and themes. O’Neill wrote several plays that received pulitzer prizes, “Beyond The Horizon” in 1920, “Anna Christie” in 1922, “Strange Interlube” in 1928 and “Long Days Journey Into Night” in 1957. (Newlyn,Eugene O’Neill”,p.1787.) Eugene was also awarded the Nobel Peace in Literature in 1936. (Newlyn,Eugene O’Neill”,p.1783.) O’Neill wrote many other plays that were seen and enjoyed through out the world. He was definetly a important person in history.
O’neill was constantly expanding, exploring and experimenting with the work he did. He only wrote plays that had realism in the story, he totally rejected any material that could not be verified by normal senses. So his work was liked by anybody who had a taste for the theater. Eugene Gladstone O’Neill was definitely a man of the theater, he was very fortunate in the ability he had. But on the other hand he was unfortunate in the diseases he had during his life. When he was young he got tuberculosis and recovered from