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Biplob Prodhan
  • 3 months ago
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The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’ Neil : Summary & Major Characters


Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953) was an American playwright and one of the most important figures in the history of American theater. He wrote over 50 plays, including “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” “The Iceman Cometh,” and “A Moon for the Misbegotten.” O’Neill’s plays often dealt with complex themes such as addiction, family dysfunction, and the search for identity. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1936 and is considered a pioneer of modern American drama.

“The Hairy Ape” is a play by Eugene O’Neill that explores the alienation and struggles of the working class in early 20th century America. The play follows the story of Yank, a brutish and uncivilized ship laborer who feels disconnected from the society around him. Yank’s sense of identity is shattered when he encounters the upper-class Mildred Douglas, who ridicules him and his way of life. Yank becomes obsessed with seeking revenge against the upper class, but ultimately realizes that he is powerless to change his own situation. The play uses Yank’s journey to explore themes of class, identity, and the struggle for human connection.

In summary, “The Hairy Ape” is a play that examines the challenges faced by the working class in early 20th century America through the character of Yank, a ship laborer who becomes disillusioned with his place in society. The play highlights the struggles of the working class to find a sense of identity and connection in a society that often views them as less than human.



The major characters in Eugene O’Neill’s play “The Hairy Ape” are:

1. Yank: A brutish and uncivilized ship laborer who feels disconnected from society and struggles to find his place in the world.

2. Mildred Douglas: A wealthy young woman who represents the upper class and who ridicules Yank, sparking his obsession with seeking revenge against the upper class.

3. Paddy: An older ship worker who befriends Yank and tries to help him navigate the challenges of life as a laborer.

4. Long: A ship worker who also befriends Yank, but who eventually turns on him and betrays him to the authorities.

5. The Secretary: A representative of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) who tries to recruit Yank to their cause, but who ultimately fails to connect with him.

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Biplob Prodhan
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