Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Master of English


This study does not include all of O'Neill's works. It will be limited to a study of four dramas: The Hairy Ape, The Emperor Jones, The Great God Brown, Strange Interlude, that seem to portray characters with strong inner conflicts.

The writer's purpose in making this study is to sharpen the insight of the writer and the reader in the techniques of this infrequently attempted type drama.

It is felt that this study will be of valuable assistance to scholars interested in interpreting the underlying meanings in the works of Eugene O'Neill and in understanding humanity in a different light. The writer is also of the belief that this research will aid in the appreciation of the skillful and artistic techniques employed in the works of America's great dramatist.

O'Neill showed a marked interest in the use of techniques in his "Memoranda on Masks" in 1932. He stated that he must find some method to present inner drama in his work or confess himself incapable of portraying one of the most characteristic preoccupations and uniquely significant spiritual impulses of his time. He further expressed a form of drama projected from a fresh insight into inner forces motivating the actions and reactions of men and women.1

Although it seems that the use of symbols is a part of all imaginative writing, the writer is of the belief that Eugene O'Neill used symbolic names and the mask as a technique to show inner reality in his characters. The investigator intends to prove that these outward symbols stand for or suggest something inward, or intangible.

1Edwin Engel, quoting O'Neill in The Haunted Heroes of Eugene O'Neill. [Massachusettes, 1953], p. 93.

Committee Chair/Advisor

A. L. Campbell


Prairie View A&M College


© 2021 Prairie View A & M University

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

John B Coleman Library

City of Publication

Prairie View





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