Eugene O’Neill’s Concern with Sexuality and the Behavioral Disorders

Asim Karim


Sex as a biological activity contains multiple aspects from pleasure to pain, and from ravishment to conjugal bliss; thus having the normal and abnormal elements. It is a primary source of reproduction carrying pleasure/orgasm or pain element in the process. Healthy sexual activities engender orgasmic responses (pleasure) and nurture human growth along healthy lines. Its derangement, however, may cause numerous psycho-biological and behavioural regressions Eugene O’Neill is primarily a dramatist of human emotions and is deeply concerned with dramatizing extremes of human behavioural tendencies with marked regressivity. His treatment of human sexuality is an illustration of his dramatizing extremes of emotive and psychological states with predominant regressive pattern in human conduct and attitude towards sexuality. Here he owes a lot to Freud’s psychoanalytic exploration of human consciousness and his theoretical stance on infantile psycho-sexual development in familial context. Therefore one comes across a persistent mode of incest in familial relation in his plays of different periods. The study, however, highlights here such other areas of human sexuality as marital sexuality, male sexual abstinence/wastefulness, female heterosexuality, prostitution, and neurasthenia with reference to selected plays of different dramatic career to emphasize that there is predominant pattern of regressivity in all these areas of human sexuality that has its negative bearing on human behavioural pattern and conduct.Key words:  Modern American drama; sexuality; behavioural disorders; neurasthenia

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