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Questions 1.Who is the American dramatist that once won the Nobel Prize in literature? And when did he get it? 2.Who are the three great dramatists regarded.

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Presentation on theme: "Questions 1.Who is the American dramatist that once won the Nobel Prize in literature? And when did he get it? 2.Who are the three great dramatists regarded."— Presentation transcript:

1 Questions 1.Who is the American dramatist that once won the Nobel Prize in literature? And when did he get it? 2.Who are the three great dramatists regarded as the first generation of contemporary American drama? 3.Who is the author of the play Desire Under the Elms, and when was it published?

2 2 Eugene O’Neill ( ) Unit 18

3 Content I.A Brief Introduction to American drama II.Introduction to O’Neill A.His position in American theatre B.His life and writing career 1. His family life 2. Period of major works III.Analysis of Desire Under the Elms A.Main characters B.The story C.The theme

4 I. A Brief Introduction to American Drama With the stimulus that came from the naturalistic, symbolic, and critical drama of Europe, and possibly moved by the vigorous stirrings in American poetry and fiction, American drama began the process of developing itself into a department of American literature equal in significance to both poetry and the novel. Experimental theatres sprang up, and the works of European dramatists like Ibsen, Strindberg, and Bernard Shaw appeared on the stage. In the meantime, modern American dramatists began to attract attention. The performance of Eugene O’Neill’s Bound East for Cardiff ( 《东航加的夫》 ) in 1916 is regarded as the beginning of American drama.

5 II. Introduction to O’Neill A. His position in American theatre Eugene O’Neill was one of the greatest playwrights in American history. Through his experimental and emotionally exploring dramas, he addressed the difficulties of human society with a deep psychological complexity. He is regarded as Father of American Theatre.

6 Eugene Gladstone O'Neill (October 16, 1888 – November 27, 1953) His plays are among the first to introduce into American drama the techniques of realism, associated with Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and Swedish playwright August Strindberg. His plays were among the first to include speeches in American vernacular (language or dialect of a particular country). His plays involve characters who inhabit the fringes of society, engaging in depraved behavior, where they struggle to maintain their hopes and aspirations but ultimately slide into disillusionment and despair. O'Neill wrote only one well- known comedy (Ah, Wilderness!). Nearly all of his other plays involve some degree of tragedy and personal pessimism.Ah, Wilderness!

7 B. The life and writing career of O’Neill 1. His family life a. Early life Born in a hotel on Broadway in 1888, Eugene O’Neill was the son of Ella Quinlan and the actor James O’Neill. Eugene spent the first seven years of his life touring with his father’s theater company. These years introduced O’Neill to the world of theater and the difficulties of maintaining artistic integrity (honesty). His father, once a well-known Shakespearean, had taken a role in a lesser play for its sizable salary.

8 b. First Marriage In 1910 O’Neill fell in love with and married the first of three wives, Kathleen Jenkins. Soon after, however, O’Neill left his wife for the adventures of traveling. When he returned he found Kathleen pregnant with his child. Without seeing the boy (Eugene O’Neill, Jr.), O’Neill shipped out again. In 1912, Kathleen filed for divorce and soon after, plagued by illness, O’Neill returned to his parents’ home. It was there that he decided to become a playwright.

9 c. Second marriage and primary achievements O’Neill spent the next five years working primarily on one-act plays. In 1918 he married Agnes Boulton, who was a writer of short novels and stories, and with her had two children, Shane and Oona. He continued to publish and produce his one-acts, but it was not until his play Beyond the Horizon (1920), that American audiences responded to his genius. The play won the first of three Pulitzer Prizes for O'Neill. Many saw in this early work a first step toward a more serious American theater. O’Neill’s poetic dialogue and insightful views into the lives of the characters held his work apart from the less sober playwriting of the day.

10 d. Third Marriage O'Neill and Carlotta Monterey, who was an actress, were married in July This time, he lasted his marriage to his death. But after his death, Carlotta chose to claim that their marriage was not a product of a mad love affair. She appreciated O'Neill as an artist, she said, and provided him a protective environment in which he could work. Her husband "never loved a woman who walked," she said. "He loved only his work. But he had respect for me." However, soon after O'Neill's death, she privately published a volume of his letters, inscriptions and poetry expressing his passionate love for her.

11 无忧 PPT 整理发布 First wife: Kathleen Jenkins Third wife: Carlotta Monterey Second wife: Agnes Boulton

12 2. Period of the major works Between 1920 and 1943 he completed 20 long plays--several of them double and triple length-- and a number of shorter ones. a. First period His most-distinguished short plays include the four early sea plays, Bound East for Cardiff, In the Zone, The Long Voyage Home, and The Moon of the Caribbees, which were written between 1913 and And these plays about the sea theme are the products of his first writing period.

13 b. Second period In the second period of writing, O’Neill wrote some experimental plays, such as The Emperor Jones and The Hairy Ape in which expressionism were used. O'Neill's plays were written from an intensely personal point of view, deriving directly from the scarring effects of his family's tragic relationships--his mother and father, who loved and tormented each other; his older brother, who loved and corrupted him and died of alcoholism in middle age; and O'Neill himself, caught and torn between love for and rage at all three. Despite (or because) of these tragedies, he went on to create a number of penetrating and insightful views into family life and struggle. With plays such as Desire Under the Elms (1924) and Morning Becomes Electra (1931), O’Neill uses the moral and physical entanglements similar to Greek drama to express the complexities of family life.

14 c. Third period Throughout much of the 1930s and 1940s, O’Neill continued in this vein working on a cycle of plays (nine) which would deal with lives of a New England family. But in his final years, O’Neill returned to the writing of realistic plays and fulfilled his will of writing biography. Both The Iceman Cometh, a story of personal desperation in the lives, and Long Day's Journey into Night, a view into the difficult family life of his early years, were profound insights into many of the darker questions of human existence. Produced posthumously, these were to be his two greatest achievements. By the time of his death in 1953, O’Neill was considered one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers.

15 15 III. Analysis of Desire Under the Elms Desire Under the Elms , a play produced in 1924, enjoys high praise from most of the O'Neill experts. Travis Bogard comments that the play "fulfills the promise of O'Neill's early career and is the first important tragedy to be written in America.” Virginia Floyd ranks it "first truly American historical play" and "most naturalistic play" The highest comment comes from John Gassner, who writes: "1n any case, nothing comparable to this work in power derived from a sense of tragic character and situation had been achieved by the American theatre in the hundred and fifty years of its history.”

16 A. Main Characters Ephraim Cabot (father) Abbie Putnam (step-mother) Simeon (first son) Eben (third son) Peter (second son)

17 B. The story Ephraim Cabot abandons his New England farm to his three sons, who hate him but share his greed. Eben, the youngest and brightest one, feels the farm is his birthright, as it originally belonged to his mother. He buys out his half-brothers' shares of the farm with money stolen from his father, and Peter and Simeon head off to California to seek their fortune. Later, Ephraim returns with a new wife, the beautiful and headstrong Abbie, who enters into an adulterous affair with Eben. Soon after, Abbie bears Eben's child, but lets Ephraim believe that the child is his, in the hopes of securing her future with the farm. Eben felt that his love was cheated by Abbie and planed to leave her. Madly in love with Eben and fearful it would become an obstacle to their relationship, Abbie kills the infant. Angry Eben calls the policeman, but later, he admits his true and deep love to Abbie, and thus confessing his own role in the infanticide.

18 18 Questions 1.Why does Abbie murder the infant? 2.What is the symbol of the Elms? 3.What does the desire refer to? 4.What is the motif of the play? anwers anwers 5.What is Puritanism? anweranwer

19 19 Desire Under the Elms 榆树下的欲望 榆树下的欲望

20 Answers 1.Abbie murders the infant to express her true love to Eben because she believes that the baby is an obstacle to their love. 2.The symbol of the elms is desire. 3.In this play, people are possessed by two kinds of desires: desire for material wealth represented by gold and farm and desire for sexual love. It is the various desires that compose the basic dramatic conflicts and lead to the tragedy. We can see the intense controversy among the family members driven by the abnormal desires for material wealth and physical pleasure. 4.The motif of the play originates from the ancient Greek tragedy. It absorbs the tragic themes of abnormal love, murdering infant and revenge of destiny. It uses the story of Euripides’ Hippolytus ( 《希波吕托斯》).

21 A Puritan of 16th and 17th century England was an associate of any number of religious groups advocating for more "purity" of worship and doctrine, as well as personal and group piety. Puritanism in New England (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island) made a great influence on American culture. The Puritans hoped to build "a city upon hill"—an ideal community. Since that time, Americans have viewed their country as a great experiment, a worthy model for other nations. New England also established another American tradition—a strain of often intolerant moralism. The Puritans believed that government should enforce God's morality. They strictly punished drunks, adulterers, violators of the Sabbath (安息 日) and other religious believers different from themselves. The American values such as individualism, hard work, and respect of education owe very much to the Puritan beliefs. Puritanism


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