Analysis Of Eugene O ' Neill

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Eugene O’Neill is considered one of the most well-known and significant American playwrights. He is often referred to as the founder of modern drama in the United States”, and was the first American playwright to receive the Nobel Prize in literature (SOURCE). His most influential play and the one that brought him public awareness is The Emperor Jones. It was the first major role for an African American actor on the Broadway stage, which still racially segregated its audience. O’Neill tells the story of Brutus Jones, a murder who escapes to the West Indies. Through deceit and manipulation, Jones anoints himself dictator over the other black natives of the island. O’Neill centers the plot on a black man returning to a primitive state. He even describes Jones as the “typically negroid, yet there is something decidedly distinctive about his face- and underlying strength of will, a hardy, self-reliant confidence in himself that inspires respect” (O’Neill 799). His use of racial slurs seem evidence enough that this play heavily contains a belief of white superiority that is offensive, especially by today’s standards. The Emperor Jones creates a racial stereotyping that only function to reinforce flawed beliefs widely held by the white American audience in the 1920’s.
Many influential critics, from both past and modern day, support The Emperor Jones. The great civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois even defended the play. He says, “The Negro today fears any attempt of the artist

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