6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A powerful, intensely moving portrayal of family life, 4 Mar 2001
Undoubtedly one of America's greatest playwrights, Eugene O'Neill's power lies in his ability to understand the complexities of the human psyche (and thereby create realistic and believable characters). "Long Day's Journey Into Night" is the best example of this talent, exploring the relationships between members of the Tyrone family (James, Edmond, Jamie and Mary) . Mary has become a morphine addict due to prescriptions by the family's "quack" doctor, and as the characters struggle to cope with her addiction, underlying grievances and contempt for one another are exposed. The emotional power of the work is immense. The terrible things that members of a family will do to one another are presented in a relentless and yet compassionate honesty and it is difficult not to be moved by the struggles of the Tyrone family. As a study of family, it is surely an unsurpassed work embued with a realism and truth that many will find remarkably 'close-to-home'. If we consider that the work is autobiographical in nature, this sense of realism can be more fully appreciated. O'Neill wrote the play in an attempt to understand himself and those to whom he was irrevocably tied by fate and by love. The humanity that the play displays because of this enhances the pain and emotional impact that "Long Day's Journey Into Night" is capable of. The play is O'Neill's greatest triumph, and it is not surprising that he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature if works such as this are anything to go by.