Denial in The Iceman Cometh Essay

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Denial in The Iceman Cometh Denial is the refusal to admit the truth. It is the refusal to accept or acknowledge the reality or validity of a thing or idea. Many characters in The Iceman Cometh suffer from denial and false hope. O'Neill places these characters in the appropriate setting in which they are able to fantasize about their dreams. Amidst the drunken and misguided characters, O'Neill presents a few that the reader builds hope and sympathy for. Each character uses a pipe dream in order to be able to become blind to their downfalls and to reality. In the bar setting, characters in Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh portray the theme of denial by embracing pipe dreams. Harry Hope is the elderly owner of a…show more content…
It is a false belief or a false hope that the character holds on to. This is in order to blind them of reality. By embracing a pipe dream, the characters feel they do not have to face the bitter reality that confronts them. The pipe dreams make life tolerable for the time being (55). Rocky, the bartender at Hope's bar, denies the fact that he is a pimp. Because he is a bartender, he believes he cannot be a pimp. He blatantly disregards the fact that he takes money from two prostitutes and protects them as well. He says to one of the prostitutes, "'What would you do if I wasn't around? Give it all to some pimp'" (O'Neill 603). The sad fact that O'Neill presents is that Rocky truly believes that he is not a pimp. He has fooled nobody but himself, and doesn't even realize it. He also holds a pipe dream of being able to open a bar of his own someday. Margie and Pearl, the two prostitutes, have pipe dreams of one day getting married. They are also living in a state of denial. Margie says, "'Anyway, we wouldn't keep no pimp, like we was reg'lar old whores. We ain't dat bad'" (603). "These characters live their life through blind eyes" (Orr 90). They refuse to see who and what they really are (91). These three characters deny who they are and refuse to accept it. Although they all have good qualities, they do not acknowledge their imperfections and overlook their unhealthy lifestyles. Ed Mosher,

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