Religion and Human Behavior in Eugene O’Neill’s Plays
This study highlights role of religion in human behavior with reference to O’Neill’s plays Mourning Becomes Electra and Long Day’s Journey into Night. It has been argued that the role of religion in Eugene O’Neill’s plays is problematic and disrupts normal human behavior and relationships. In Mourning Becomes Electra, it creates a terrible conflict between religious forces that seek control of human thoughts as well as emotions and desire for liberation from this control. Sexual drives in the play represent individual forces of liberation from authoritarian religious control. The conflict, however, has regressive psychic and emotive effects on the personalities and creates severe psychic and familial disintegration. In Long Day’s Journey into Night, O’Neill treats this conflict much more subtly, avoiding eroticism as a metaphor of liberation from religious control. The play also dramatizes antithetical processes of adulation and aversion from religion in the familial context in the play The conclusion has been drawn that the role of religion in O’Neill is thoroughly on the negative side and is free from dynamic role in healthy personality development.
Key words: Modern American drama; Religion; Human behavior and personality development
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