O'Neill And Naturalism Essay

2069 WordsApr 8, 20129 Pages
Introduction American drama had already had quite a long history before Eugene O’Neill appeared in American literature. However, this history became only a foreshadow when his one-act play, The Road to the Temple was first performed on 28th July 1916. by Provincetown Players, thus giving birth to both nationally and internationally significant American drama.[1] Before his appearance American playwrights mostly used Shakespeare’s pieces for writing their own plays in a more romanticized form. Topics that were actual to the American audience could hardly ever be found in those plays earlier than O’Neill’s. If still, they were overgeneralized and too lyrical in their language for the audience to adopt them. The Literary Background of O’Neill’s Life-work Some decades before O’Neill began his work a new literary style was born in Europe. This was naturalism, a literary movement that took place between 1880’s and the 1940’s and was based on Charles Darwin’s evolution theory after his work, The Origin of Species had been published in 1859. In this work, which is also very significant from a sociological point of view, Darwin suggests that life favores „survival of the fittest”. The theory includes three main aspects: - people are controlled by heredity and environment - behaviors are beyond their control - humanity is a natural object, rather than being above all else[2] Naturalism is the outgrowth of realism that not only describes its subjects as they are as realism does, but also attempts to present the background forces these subjects are driven by. The movement originates from French literature, the father of it, and also the inventor of the term naturalism itself, was Emilé Zola, the novellist, author of the famous novel, Nana. It spread all over Europe and soon influenced American literature as well. Famous

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