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Long Day's Journey into Night is a tragedy play in four acts written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill in 1941–42, first published in 1956. The play is widely considered to be his magnum opus and one of the finest American plays of the 20th century. It premiered in Sweden in February 1956 and then opened on Broadway in November 1956, winning the Tony Award for Best Play.

O'Neill posthumously received the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Long Day's Journey into Night. The work concerns the Tyrone family, consisting of parents James and Mary and their sons Edmund and Jamie. The "Long Day" refers to the setting of the play, which takes place during one day. The play is semi-autobiographical.

Summary

The play takes place on a single day in August 1912, from around 8:30 a.m. to midnight. The setting is the seaside Connecticut home of the Tyrones, Monte Cristo Cottage. The four main characters are the semi-autobiographical representations of O'Neill himself, his older brother, and their parents.

This play portrays a family in a ferociously negative light as the parents and two sons express accusations, blame, and resentments—qualities that are often paired with pathetic and self-defeating attempts at affection, encouragement, tenderness, and yearnings for things to be otherwise. The pain of this family is made worse by their depth of self-understanding and self-analysis, combined with a brutal honesty, as they see it, and an ability to boldly express themselves. The story deals with the mother's addiction to morphine, the family's addiction to whiskey, the father's miserliness, the older brother's licentiousness, and younger brother's illness.

Synopsis

Act I

Living-room of the Tyrones' summer home, 8:30 am on a day in August, 1912

James Tyrone is a 65-year-old actor who had long ago bought a "vehicle" play for himself and had established his reputation based on this one role with which he had toured for years. Although that "vehicle" had served him well financially, he is now resentful that his having become so identified with this character has limited his scope and opportunities as a classical actor. He is a wealthy though somewhat miserly man. His money is all tied up in property which he hangs onto in spite of impending financial hardship. His dress and appearance are showing signs of his strained financial circumstances, but he retains many of the mixed affectations of a classical actor in spite of his shabby attire.

His wife Mary has recently returned from treatment for morphine addiction and has put on some much-needed weight as a result. She is looking much healthier than the family has been accustomed to, and they remark frequently on her improved appearance. However, she still retains the haggard facial features of a long-time addict. As a recovering addict, she is restless and anxious. She also suffers from insomnia, which is not made any easier by her husband and children's loud snoring. When Edmund, her younger son, hears her moving around at night and entering the spare bedroom, he becomes alarmed, because this is the room where, in the past, she would satisfy her addiction. He questions her about it indirectly. She reassures him that she just went there to get away from her husband's snoring.

In addition to Mary's problems, the family is worried about Edmund's coughing; they fear that he might have tuberculosis, and are anxiously awaiting a doctor's diagnosis. Edmund is more concerned about the effect a positive diagnosis might have on his mother than on himself. The constant possibility that she might relapse worries him still further. Once again, he indirectly speaks to his mother about her addiction. He asks her to "promise not to worry yourself sick and to take care of yourself." "Of course I promise you," she protests, but then adds ('with a sad bitterness'), "But I suppose you're remembering I've promised before on my word of honor."

Act II

The same, around 12:45 pm;

O'Neill posthumously received the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Long Day's Journey into Night. The work concerns the Tyrone family, consisting of parents James and Mary and their sons Edmund and Jamie. The "Long Day" refers to the setting of the play, which takes place during one day. The play is semi-autobiographical.

The play takes place on a single day in August 1912, from around 8:30 a.m. to midnight. The setting is the seaside Connecticut home of the Tyrones, Monte Cristo Cottage. The four main characters are the semi-autobiographical representations of O'Neill himself, his older brother, and their parents.

This play portrays a family in a ferociously negative light as the parents and two sons express accusations, blame, and resentments—qualities that are often paired with pathetic and self-defeating attempts at affection, encouragement, tenderness, and yearnings for things to be otherwise. The pain of this family is made worse by their depth of self-understanding and self-analysis, combined with a brutal honesty, as they see it, and an ability to boldly express themselves. The story deals with the mother's addiction to morphine, the family's addiction to whiskey, the father's miserliness, the older brother's licentiousness, and younger brother's illness.

Synopsis

Act I

Living-room of the Tyrones' summer home, 8:30 am on a day in August, 1912

James Tyrone is a 65-year-old actor who had long ago bought a "vehicle" play for himself and had established his reputation based on this one role with which he had toured for years. Although that "vehicle" had served him well financially, he is now resentful that his having become so identified with this character has limited his scope and opportunities as a classical actor. He is a wealthy though somewhat miserly man. His money is all tied up in property which he hangs onto in spite of impending financial hardship. His dress and appearance are showing signs of his strained financial circumstances, but he retains many of the mixed affectations of a classical actor in spite of his shabby attire.

His wife Mary has recently returned from treatment for morphine addiction and has put on some much-needed weight as a result. She is looking much healthier than the family has been accustomed to, and they remark frequently on her improved appearance. However, she still retains the haggard facial features of a long-time addict. As a recovering addict, she is restless and anxious. She also suffers from insomnia, which is not made any easier by her husband and children's loud snoring. When Edmund, her younger son, hears her moving around at night and entering the spare bedroom, he becomes alarmed, because this is the room where, in the past, she would satisfy her addiction. He questions her about it indirectly. She reassures him that she just went there to get away from her husband's snoring.

In addition to Mary's problems, the family is worried about Edmund's coughing; they fear that he might have tuberculosis, and are anxiously awaiting a doctor's diagnosis. Edmund is more concerned about the effect a positive diagnosis might have on his mother than on himself. The constant possibility that she might relapse worries him still further. Once again, he indirectly speaks to his mother about her addiction. He asks her to "promise not to worry yourself sick and to take care of yourself." "Of course I promise you," she protests, but then adds ('with a sad bitterness'), "But I suppose you're remembering I've promised before on my word of honor."

Act II