It’s a tough choice but I think this play is the greatest messed up family drama ever. O’Neill’s remorseless exploration of everything that makes family life a living nightmare is unequaled in my humble opinion. Many consider Long Day’s Journey Into Night to be O’Neill’s masterpiece. I prefer A Moon for the Misbegotten but not by much. Long Day’s Journey Into Night is a long play but it is basically perfect. There is no fat anywhere in the play. Nothing is out of place or without a proper function. You could lose yourself forever in the dialogue and speeches, just as the characters lose themselves in the fog of their own misery and love.
Speaking of love, that is what provides the final, crucial key to this play. I mentioned O’Neill’s remorselessness before. He mixes it, but never dilutes it, with compassion and love. The Tyrone family love each other deeply, in spite of everything. There is no one else for them to turn to and they probably wouldn’t want them anyway. They only want each other. The fact that this realization is not nearly enough to save them is the play’s real tragedy. 


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