Term Paper: Hairy Ape by David Auburn

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Hairy Ape by Eugene O'Neill

Analyze how Yank's anguish/anxiety, in "The Hairy Ape" by Eugene O'Neill, is philosophical and universal.

References specific to working and upper class life during America's Guided Age, like expensive transit upon ocean liners, illegally unionizing socialist workers like the Wobblies (I.W.W), and the extreme disparities between the rich and the poor belie the fact that the central protagonist's Yank's anxiety about his lack of social mobility is not limited to his day and age. The central, anguished image of the play is that of a man who is intensely powerful and physical and who is ultimately overcome by his primate ancestor. Ironically, Yank has admired this universal ancestor in the zoo as a fellow captive out of his true state of nature, as Yank was in prison.

Discuss how the play emphasizes Darwinism and Reverse Darwinism.

Yank begins the play as a fireman and coal worker on a Transatlantic Ocean Liner. He physically dominates the men around him, who obey his requests for drink without question. However, Yank is physically rather than socially and intellectually superior in manner -- he dominates them through implied violence, not because they admire him. This is Darwinian survival of the fittest, but only the fittest physically, not mentally or spiritually -- thus is also a kind of a reverse Darwinism when this fact is enacted upon the stage.

In the first scene, even… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Hairy Ape by David Auburn.  (2005, July 13).  Retrieved December 6, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hairy-ape-david-auburn/634624

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