46 Eugene O'Neill Quotes | Kidadl


46 Eugene O'Neill Quotes

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Why Eugene O'Neill quotes?

Eugene O'Neill was an American playwright born in New York City on October 16, 1888. O'Neill also won the Noble Prize for Literature in 1936 for his exceptional writings. He is best known for his plays. O'Neill wrote the tragedy 'Long Day's Journey Into Night', considered one of the finest plays by an American playwright of the 20th century. Some common elements in his plays are - hints of personal pessimism, a theme of tragedy, and extensive and engaging monologues. He was regarded as a contemporary of pioneer writers like Anton ChekovHenrik Ibsen, and August Strindberg. Eugene O'Neill earns his place among them for introducing the styles and techniques of realism into American drama. This article presents a collection of quotes from his writings, interviews, and speeches. The quotes portray the life, hopes, and dreams of his characters, who represent the fringes of society. Reading the article might also give you more clarity about life and inspire you to read more literature. You can also find an interest in discovering more about the worlds and lives of the characters in his writings.       

What parents should know?

  • Eugene O'Neill passed away on November 27, 1953, in Boston, Massachusetts. 
  • O'Neill won his first Pulitzer Prize For Drama in 1920 for his first published play 'Beyond The Horizon'. He won three more Pulitzers in 1922, 1928, and posthumously in 1957.
  • He also received the Tony Award For Best Play posthumously in 1957. 

What to discuss with kids?

  • O'Neill was quite notorious during his college years, which is speculated as the reason he left Princeton University only after a year. 
  • Eugene O'Neill was portrayed as a film character by Jack Nicholson in Warren Beatty's 1981 movie, 'Reds'.
  • He is also listed as a member of the American Theater Hall Of Fame. 

Eugene O'Neill Quotes on Life

1. "Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace." - 'More Stately Mansions: The Unexpurgated Edition', 1988

2. "There is no present or future – only the past happening over and over again – now. You can't get away from it." - Tyrone, 'A Moon For The Misbegotten'

3. "Life is a long drawn out lie with a sniffling sigh at the end of it." - Nina, 'Strange Interlude', 1928

4. "Life is for each man a solitary cell whose walls are mirrors." - Lazarus, 'Lazarus Laughed'

5. "I belonged without, past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself!" - Edmund, 'Long Day's Journey Into Night'

6. "It's only our lives that grow old. We are where centuries only count as seconds and after a thousand lives our eyes begin to open – and the moon rests in the sea!." - Margaret, 'The Great God Brown'

7. "Life's all right, if you let it alone." - Cybel, 'The Great God Brown' 

8. "Man's loneliness is but his fear of life."

9. "You mustn't feel sorry for me. Don't you see I'm happy at last – free – free! – freed from the farm – free to wander on and on– eternally! Look! Isn't it beautiful beyond the hills? I can hear the old voices calling me to come – And this time I'm going!" - Robert, 'Beyond The Horizon', 1918

10. "We fought so long against small things that we became small ourselves."

11. "If a person is to get the meaning of life, he must learn to like the facts about himself – ugly as they may seem to his sentimental vanity – before he can learn the truth behind the facts. And the truth is never ugly." - New York Herald Tribune, 1956

12. "Dear college days, with pleasure rife! The grandest gladdest days of life!" - Willie, 'The Iceman Cometh' 

13. "The only living life is in the past and future - the present is an interlude - strange interlude in which we call on past and future to bear witness that we are living." - 'Strange Interlude', 1928

Famous Eugene O'Neill Quotes

14. "Happiness hates the timid." - Darrell, 'Strange Interlude', 1928

15. "None of us can help the things life has done to us. They're done before you realize it, and once they're done they make you do other things until at least everything comes between you and what you'd like to be, and you've lost your true self forever." - Mary, 'Long Day's Journey Into Night'

16. "One should be either sad or joyful. Contentment is a warm sty for eaters and sleepers." - 'Eugene O'Neill: Complete Plays 1920-1931'

17. "Dogs are wiser than men. They do not set great store upon things. They do not waste their days hoarding property." - 'The Will & Testament Of An Extremely Distinguished Dog'

18. "God gave us mouths that close and ears that don't... that should tell us something."

19. "Therefore the old – like children – talk to themselves, for they have reached that hopeless wisdom of experience which knows that though one were to cry it in the streets to multitudes, or whisper it in the kiss to one's beloved, the only ears that can ever hear one's secrets are one's own!" - Tiberius, 'Lazarus Laughed'

20. "We need, above all, to learn again to believe in the possibility of nobility of spirit in ourselves." - John, 'Days Without End', 1933

21. "I am so far from being a pessimist...on the contrary, in spite of my scars, I am tickled to death at life." 

22. "Don't go milling around for trouble. When I was a kid I used to get fun out of my horrors." - Martha, 'The First Man'

23. "While you are still beautiful and life still woos, it is such a fine gesture of disdainful pride to jilt it."

24. "You seem to be going in for sincerity to-day. It isn't becoming to you, really — except as an obvious pose. Be as artificial as you are, I advise. There's a sort of sincerity in that, you know. And, after all, you must confess you like that better." - Aunt, 'The Hairy Ape', 1922

25. "Supposing I was to tell you that it's just Beauty that's calling me, the beauty of the far off and unknown, the mystery and spell of the East which lures me in the books I've read, the need of the freedom of great wide spaces, the joy of wandering on and on —" - Robert, 'Beyond The Horizon', 1918

26. "Critics? I love every bone in their heads."

27. "When men make gods, there is no God!" - Lazarus, 'Lazarus Laughed'

Eugene O'Neill Quotes on Dreams

28. "Life is perhaps most wisely regarded as a bad dream between two awakenings, and everyday is a life in miniature." - Chu-Yin, 'Marco Millions'

29. "We talk about the American Dream and want to tell the world about the American Dream, but what is that Dream, in most cases, but the dream of material things?"

30. "Curtis: If we ever have to grow old, we'll do it together just as we've always done everything.

Martha: That's my dream of happiness, Curt." - 'The First Man'

31. "Me time is past due. That a great wave wid sun in the heart of it may sweep me over the side sometime I'd be dreaming of the days that's gone!" - Paddy, 'The Hairy Ape', 1922

32. "But you don't know how good it is to have your dreams coming true. It'd make an egoist out of anyone." - Murray, 'The Straw'

33. "I am living a dream within the great dream of the tide… breathing in the tide I dream and breathe back my dream into the tide… suspended in the movement of the tide," - Nina, 'Strange Interlude', 1928

Best Eugene O'Neill Quotes

34. "I'm going on the theory that the United States, instead of being the most successful country in the world, is the greatest failure… it was given everything, more than any other country. Through moving as rapidly as it has, it hasn't acquired any real roots." - during an interview from 1946

35. "You said they had found the secret of happiness because they had never heard that love can be a sin." - Lavinia, 'Mourning Becomes Electra'

36. "We'd be making sail in the dawn, with a fair breeze, singing a chanty song wid no care to it. And astern the land would be sinking low and dying out, but we'd give it no heed but a laugh, and never a look behind." - Paddy, 'The Hairy Ape', 1922

37. "Take some wood and canvas and nails and things. Build yourself a theater, a stage, light it, learn about it. When you have done that you will probably know how to write a play."  

38. "Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music and rhythm and grace and song and laughter? Why am I afraid to live, I who love life and the beauty of flesh and the living colors of earth and sky and sea? Why am I afraid to love, I who love love?" - Dion, 'The Great God Brown'

39. "Everything is far away and doesn't matter – except the moon and its dreams, and I'm part of the dreams – and you are, too." - Josie, 'A Moon For The Misbegotten'

40. "Writing is my vacation from living."

41. "Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue."

42. "Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back."

43. "For de little stealin' dey gits you in jail soon or late. For de big stealin' dey makes you Emperor and puts you in de Hall o' Fame when you croaks." - Jones, 'The Emperor Jones' 

44. "I have had my dance with Folly, nor do I shirk the blame;

I have sipped the so-called Wine of Life and paid the price of shame;" - 'Free'

45. "I am afraid your Holy Pope is a most unholy cynic. Could he believe this youth possesses that thing called soul the West dreams lives after death – and might reveal it to me? Have you an immortal soul? - Kublai, ‘Marco Millions’

46. "Dey's some tings I ain't got to be tole. I kin see 'em in folk's eyes." - Jones, ‘The Emperor Jones’

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Written By
Joan Agie

<p>With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.</p>

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