The Hero as Victim: A Study of the Protagonists in Five Plays by Eugene O'Neill

Publication Year



English, playwriting, protagonists, Eugene O'Neill, character development, modern man


Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | Classics | Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | English Language and Literature | Modern Literature | Philosophy | Playwriting


Eugene O'Neill is the contemporary playwright most often called the twentieth century's creator of tragic drama. It is the aim of this study to prove that the tragedy according to O'Neill, though having antecedents in the works of the Greeks, represents a unique concept of the tragedy as it involves modern man. The term tragedy, as it is conceived in the twentieth century mind, is humbled in meaning. This would seem to evolve proportionately with the concept that the hero of the Greek tragedies, willful maker of his calamity, has become the victim of the modern society and sciences. The paper will attempt to illustrate that O'Neill's debt to the Greek masters is in the area of the mechanics of the creation of his piece rather than in the motivating concepts of his characters.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

English: Literature and Writing

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