The Psychological Disclosure of the Inner of Humanity through Expressionism in O’neill’s The Emperor Jones

Abstract

This paper is designed to show Eugene O’Neill’s expressionistic techniques in one of his early plays namely The Emperor Jones. These techniques contribute greatly to expressing man’s frustration and perplexity, presenting their dislocation and dislocation under the irrational forces of the modern world. The essay is composed of three parts. The first part is concerned with Eugene O’Neill’s relation to expressionism. It first generalizes the rise and features of expressionism. Expressionism differs from the literary tradition of realism in subject matters and in styles. It is essentially a mode of analyzing an inner experience and it is employed for the portrayal of inner activity. Expressionism helps distort life for the purpose of satirical stress, or strike beneath the surface to show the chaos and the distress at the bottom. As an experimental dramatist, O’Neill was attracted to the greatest innovator in modern theatre; and his expressionism is certainly indebted to Strindberg’s formal experiments. Then, the thesis delineates Eugene O’Neill’s most successful experimental play of expressionism The Emperor Jones. The last part, the most weighty and vital part of this thesis, concentrates on Eugene O’Neill’s expressionistic techniques in the aforementioned play. In the play, O’Neill employs expressionistic tricks such as the visual effects, the sound effects, the masks, the interior monologues, the symbols and images and ironies to create atmospheres and to externalize what is inside, to display the characters’ inner reality, and to convey the psychological depth of individual characters, to objectify the invisible and even the incommunicable. These expressionistic techniques in his plays contribute greatly to externalize the inner world of his characters, his modern men

Keywords: Inner; Expressionism; Symbolism; Soliloquy; Interior Monologue


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