Two plays from one of the twentieth century's most significant writers, developed and conceived in tandem, drawing on the raw experience of the author's own family relationships.
Desire Under the Elms
A story of greed, yearning and murder with incest and infanticide, and edged with echoes of Ancient Greek tragedy within a New England farming family.
When Ephraim Cabot brings home his new young bride Abbie following his wife's death, his three boys treat her with disdain – especially the youngest, Eben, who despises her deeply for taking his mother's place. But when his feelings for Abbie turn to lust, father-son relations are pushed to their very limits. And beyond.
The Great God Brown
A demonstration of O'Neill's expressionistic experimentation with masks to emphasise the distinction between characters, and the lack of understanding in human relationships.
Dion Anthony is joyful, sensual, and creative – on the outside, but when he removes his mask to reveal his haunted loneliness, his wife Margaret ceases to love or understand him. Dion's best friend, William Brown, has always admired Dion's capacity for giving and receiving love, especially Margaret's. Now Brown's need to protect has become a need to possess, and so when Dion dies Brown assumes his mask, his family and his wife. But to really become Dion Anthony, Brown has to kill William Brown – the William Brown beneath the mask.
This edition includes a full introduction, biographical sketch and chronology.
Eugene O'Neill was the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, and at the time of his death in 1951 had written over twenty plays.