Essay - Eugene O'neill's Play, 'The Emperor Jones (1921),' is the Horrifying...


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Eugene O'Neill's play, "The Emperor Jones (1921)," is the horrifying story of Rufus Jones, the monarch of a West Indi*****n *****land, presented in a single act of eight scenes of violence and disturbing images. O'Neill's sense of tragedy comes out undiluted in this surreal and nightmarish study of *****' character ***** a mighty struggle *****nd tension between black Christianity and ***** paganism (IMBD). Jones is an unforgettable character in his powerfulness ***** fatalness, made most evident by the support of language, sound and other stage effects, such as the dreadful drumming sounds and the Emperor's hallucinations. T***** psychological drama delves into the nature of power, the inevitable pull of history and in ***** belief in the supernatural as these were experienced in the first two decades of the l*****t century.

The play is a monument to O'Neill's vision of conflict between ***** man and his own psyche, "between learn*****g what life is really ***** of," and how ***** ordinary man ***** little prepared ***** learn (IMBD). It is a sordid, shattering *****, which brings the audience to a journey of fear, anger, humility, sadness ***** terror, experienced by a monster ***** an emperor whose only resort to sanity was to humiliate and dehumanize those whom he governs in the pursuit of social, political ***** f*****ancial goals. O'Neill spells ***** his tragic message about human reality - the truth about ourselves ***** after a merciless probe in***** its I dark alleys and frank depths.

The de*****ization of man is the same subject ***** another *****, "The Hairy Ape (1922)." Rather than improve on the human c*****dition, industrialization has reduced the human worker into a mere machine, which can be manipulated or turned on ***** off ***** w*****tles. He is no l*****ger required or expected to think independently: machines do the job f***** him. The ***** worker ***** instead relegated ***** the most menial and meanest "grunt work and physical labor" that has reverted man into the ape or Neanderthal state.

O'Neill expresses his objection to the tyranny of progress and industrialization and the tragedy it has brought upon human life in ***** ironic retrogression of progressive human beings ***** unthinking, manipulated and helpless apes. Yank and ***** fellows are more ***** symbolic apes whose language is complex and ***** whom thought is difficult. O'Neill views modern man as "un-evolved," ignorant about class and concerned only w*****h brute survival and a machine-like ***** ***** belonging. Like an ape, ***** is territorial, pigheaded ***** aggressive and O'Neill uses h***** *****ization to present a most grotesque condition of modern m*****n.

Though a compelling prim*****ry need, the sense of belonging is not achieved in ***** play from an animal to a spiritual being. This frustration is presented by the character of Yank as the filthy and arrogant ship leader, who is later thr***** out by the *****ndustrial Workers ***** the World ***** a "br*****inless *****." In h***** urge to belong somew*****ere, he sets a gorilla free from a zoo in order ***** befriend it but

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