O'Neill's Naturalism and Expressionism Analytical Essay by Jay Writtings LLC

An analysis of the use of naturalism and expressionism in Eugene O'Neill's plays "Beyond the Horizon" and "The Hairy Ape".
# 115856 | 3,888 words | 12 sources | MLA | 2009 | US
Published on Aug 14, 2009 in Drama and Theater (American) , Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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Chosen as a "Paper of the Week":

Paper of the week
Irish-American playwright Eugene O'Neill was born October 16, 1888. In spite of his troubled life, O'Neill eventually became one of the most famous playwrights in the US and is considered by many to be one of the greatest in history.  Paper #115856, "Naturalism and Expressionism in Eugene O’Neill’s "Beyond the Horizon" and "The Hairy Ape"", was chosen as this week's Paper of the Week on AcaDemon not only because it is an excellent and well-written paper, but also because it helps commemorate this playwright's life.  Paper #115856 provides an interesting analysis of two of O'Neill's works, "Beyond the Horizon" and "The Hairy Ape" and contends that one can be viewed as a naturalist work and one as expressionist.  The paper explains both  the naturalism movement and the expressionist movement and then uses quotes from both plays to support the contention.  The paper also provides biographical information on O'Neill, making it a very informative read on the playwright and his literary work.


The paper posits that Eugene O'Neill's play, "Beyond the Horizon", is a naturalist expression, while his play, "The Hairy Ape", is much more expressionistic, though each has elements of the other. The paper examines both works in order to demonstrate O'Neill's use of both naturalism and expressionism.

From the Paper:

"Naturalism is considered an artistic movement that seeks to represent an ordinary, every day reality to convey an artistic or universal thematic message. In theater, this refered to the illusion of reality as represented through detailled sets fuelled by the grandiose imagery of the dialogue itself and the unpoetic effusive literary style which also gives rise to expressionism. In this sense, reality gives way to heightened reality and this represents the transitionary phase and the distinction between naturalism and expressionisim, a distinction best revealed through specific study of the literary works of O'Neill that contain elements of both. Whereas naturalism is a faithful and detailled representation of reality, expressionism becomes the overstated and heightened state of reality that would evoke the most poweful human response."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • "Beyond the Horizon." Act 3, scene 2: http://www.bartleby.com/132/32.html
  • "Beyond the Horizon." Act 3, scene 1:http://www.bartleby.com/132/31.html
  • "Beyond the Horizon." Scene 1: www.bartleby.com/132/11.html
  • Byrd, Robert E. "Unseen, Unheard, Inescapable: Unseen Characters in the Dramaturgy." 2007: http://www.eoneill.com/library/review/24-1.2/24-1.2d.htm
  • "Expressionism." 2007: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9033453/Expressionism

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

O'Neill's Naturalism and Expressionism (2009, August 14) Retrieved July 05, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/o-neill-naturalism-and-expressionism-115856/

MLA Format

"O'Neill's Naturalism and Expressionism" 14 August 2009. Web. 05 July. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/o-neill-naturalism-and-expressionism-115856/>