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Long Day's Journey into Night Character Analysis

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Long Day`s Journey into thePast:

The character analysis of Mary

In the play ÐŽoLong DayЎЇs Journey into Night,ÐŽ± by Eugene OЎЇNeill, the writer depicts a typical day of the Tyrone family, whose once-close family has deteriorated over the years for a number of reasons: MaryЎЇs drug addiction, Tyrone Jamie and EdmundЎЇs alcoholism, TyroneЎЇs stinginess, and the sons` pessimistic attitude toward future. In the play, all of the four characters are miserable about life, and they all remember the past and try to escape from reality by drinking alcohol or taking drugs. Among these four characters, Mary is a typical and special one; she is the most tragic character in the play. She used to be an innocent girl with beautiful dreams (to become a nun and a pianist) and a strong religious faith centered on the Virgin Mary. However, her marriage destroyed her dreams and weakened her faith. Her husband Tyrone fails to realize the promises he made to Mary, which makes her lose her faith in the marriage. The morphine addiction drags her down and makes her unconscious about whether she lives in the past or present. The title of the play is a ÐŽoLong DayЎЇs Journey into NightÐŽ±, but Mary, as she keeps taking morphine, travels mentally back to the past when she has fewer problems and happier life. Thus, for Mary, it is actually a long dayЎЇs journey into the past.

In Act One, there are three points that are important to the developing of the character of Mary. One is that she realizes her beauty is fading away, and she is in the stages of decline; another is that she refuses to admit that there is a health problem with her and her son Edmund. Finally, there is the issue of MaryЎЇs specific idea of what a ÐŽohomeÐŽ± is. At the beginning of the play, Tyrone and Jamie stare at Mary, and make her self-conscious (p27); they talk about her hair and remember the beautiful hair that Mary had when she was young. Mary realizes that she is getting old and she is very anxious about this, which is reflected when she asks people what is wrong with her hair several times. One of MaryЎЇs central flaws is her refusal to admit that there is a problem with herself or Edmund. She lies to her family many times about being cured, and she blames them for suspecting her. Also, she does not accept the fact that Edmund has a serious health problem. We can see that Marry likes to escape from reality and from facts; she likes to live in a fantasy world and the morphine helps her do that. In the later part of Act One, Marry expresses her feelings about the home she lives in and she is very upset about the current situation of the family. She does not feel like her house is any kind of a home (p45); she believes that she has never actually had a home with Tyrone, because they have lived their lives with countless lies and empty promises. This is one of the expressions of MaryЎЇs romantic vision of life that has been destroyed by the reality of the present situation. Unfortunately for her, Mary was never able to realize these concerns until late in life; she always goes along with her husband and her children with little comment. Thus, we see that communication in the family is flawed. This is also evident in MaryЎЇs continued refusal to admit the truth, and in the menЎЇs refusal to tell her the truth. Therefore, the members of the family can easily start an argument or a fight, and fails to communicate what they feel and want until it is too late.

In Act Two, Mary continues to blame others including herself, and to complain about fate. She keeps mentioning the past to blame Tyrone for her addiction because he would only pay for a cheap doctor who uses drugs to cure her childbirth pain. When Tyrone interrupts and tells her to forget the past, Mary replies: ÐŽoWhy? How can I? The past is the present, isnЎЇt it? ItЎЇs the future too. We all try to lie out of that but life wonЎЇt let us.ÐŽ± (P90) She also blames herself that she broke her vow never to have another baby after Eugene, and she claimed that from the first day she could tell that Edmund was weak and fragile, as if God intended to punish her for what had happened to EugeneЁCthis is probably why she does not admit EdmundЎЇs health problems. In Scene One of the Act Two, Mary tends to blame the problems of the family on fate. She first criticizes Jamie for his tendency to look for weaknesses in others, but then she changes directions and attributes the flaw to the way Jamie was raised, which is not his fault.(P63) MaryЎЇs fatalistic point of view is another flaw in her character, because she always uses this as an excuse and finds a way out. Likewise, she blames most of her problems on her failed dreams and disappointment, which limits her choice of actions.

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