Cultural Materialistic Reading of Eugene O’Neill’s the Iceman Cometh

Mojgan Gaeini, Fatemeh Sadat Basirizadeh


This paper examines one selected play of Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953) in Cultural Materialism. His selected play, The Iceman Cometh, is interwoven with the political and socio-economical conditions of the American capitalistic society. O’Neill was highly under the influence and inspiration of his contemporary events and the traces of those events are reflected in his works. He prefers to deal with the authentic American types and backgrounds in his social dramas. The main characters of his plays under the tyranny of dominant power turn into dissidents and resist against the authority or control of the dominant system. They struggle to subvert the dominant order, and since they would be a threat for absolute power they are consequently condemned to harsh punishment. O’Neill represents the conflict between the marginalized group and the central one. His sympathetic tone indicates his intention in supporting the dissidence in social and political activities. The Iceman Cometh is the depiction of the World War’s impact on American community. All of the desperate typical characters of this play belong to the dissident group that resist against the dominant order in various manners. O'Neill held out little hope for man in The Iceman Cometh during the Second World War. O'Neill confessed that the United States instead of being the most successful country in the world is the greatest failure because of the foreign policy of the United States during the Wars. The Iceman Cometh is the symbolic and artistic picture of the US policy which brings disillusionment and death for Americans.

DOI: 10.5901/ajis.2013.v2n9p74

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Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies ISSN 2281 3993(Print) ISSN 2281-4612(Online)

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