In Beyond the Horizon and Diff\'rent, Eugene O\'Neill reveals that dreams are necessary to sustain life. Through the use of the characters Robert Mayo, Andrew Mayo, Ruth and Emma Crosby, O\'Neill proves that without dreams, man could not exist. Each of his characters are dependent on their dreams, as they feed their destiny. When they deny their dreams, they deny their destiny, altering their lives forever. O\'Neill also points out, that following your dreams, brings you true happiness, something all of his characters do not experience.
The characters of Rob, Andy and Emma are stripped of their dreams and their destinies, by the ones who profess to love them. Rob and Andy unknowingly allowed Ruth to lead them down a path, they were not meant to travel. Emma is the same as Rob and Andrew in this respect, because she let Caleb\'s actions control her ability to follow her dream. Rob is a dreamer. His only wish is to go \'beyond the horizon\' and discover the mystery of life. Andy, however, is Rob\'s opposite. Andrew is practical and down-to-earth. His deepest desire is to spend his life farming. "One constructs the world out of fact, the other out of pure imagination." Rob\'s quest is strange to Andy; it goes beyond anything he can comprehend. Andrew, who is "A Mayo through and through." does not think in the imaginative terms Rob does. "It\'s just beauty that\'s calling me-the beauty of the far off and unknown...in quest of the secret which is hidden over there, beyond the horizon." (Horizon, 85) Andy does understand, that his brother could never be happy living on the farm, because his heart is elsewhere. Emma is like Rob in a few ways. Both characters have idealistic views. Rob believes in the secret beyond the horizon and Emma in Caleb\'s fidelity. Neither of them consider the fact things may not be as they perceive them. For Emma, this innocence is her undoing. Emma considers Caleb to be \'diff\'rent\'. This difference is what makes him special to her. She trusts he will always be this way and that they will always have a future. "But you\'re diff\'rent. You just got to be diff\'rent from the rest." Andrew is not like Rob or Emma. He is always logical. He considers Rob\'s dreams to be a result of his College education, something Andy does not have. Andy has no desire to go anywhere beyond the farm, because it has everything he needs. He is the one to tell Rob that "we\'ve got all you\'re looking for right on this farm." (Horizon, 85) This is his nature and to change it, alters the course of his life, as well as that of the people around him.
In Beyond The Horizon, Ruth is the catalyst for the changes that occur. She convinces Rob she loves him and that he should stay on the farm, instead of going in search of his dreams. "Oh, Rob! Don\'t go away! Please! You musn\'t now! You can\'t! I won\'t let you! It\'d break my --my heart!" (Horizon, 91) Rob does not consider the long-term effects of this decision, he sees only momentary satisfaction. Rob does not realize the impact his decision will have on Andy, who is also in love with Ruth. Andy, thinks he could never stand to live on the farm, with Ruth and Rob married. He feels in time he would grow to hate it. "I can wish you and Ruth all the good luck in the world...but you can\'t expect me to stay around here and watch you two together, day after day." (Horizon, 110) So, Andy defies his own nature and sets out on the boat, Rob was to travel on, in search of happiness. This is a point that Andy is similar to Emma, in the way that she reacted to someone else\'s actions. Caleb cheated on her when he was away at sea. Emma being a highly moral person, cannot love him the same way any more. "I can\'t Ma. It makes him another person--not Caleb, but someone just like all the others." (Dif, 512) Emma made Caleb out to be the perfect man and made him totally infallible in her eyes. She did not fall