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Title: The influence of Nietzsche on the plays of Eugene O'Neill
Author: Porter, Edwina Stewart
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1986
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Having read much of Nietzsche's published work, particularly The Birth of Tragedy, The Joyful Wisdom and Thus Spake Zarathustra, Eugene O'Neill absorbed many of his ideas and attempted to transfer the philosophical concepts into dramatic form. He copied out many passages from Nietzsche's work (see Appendix) and used them directly or adapted than in order to relate Nietzsche's ideas to the newly developing theories of theatre and dramatic presentation in the United States of America and to the emerging character of twentieth century America as O'Neill observed it. O'Neill explored such controversial concepts as F temal Recurrence (Chapter II), Socialism (Chapter III), the evolution of the Superman (Chapter IV), the Dionysian influence (Chapter V), Nietzsche's pronouncements on the death of God and the re-valuation of Christianity (Chapters VI and VII) and Nietzschean pronouncements on life and death (Chapters VIII and IX). He created plays which are a dramatic analysis and interpretation of the nature of man and the world he inhabits, and throughout O'Neill's playwriting career the influence of Nietzsche is evident. From the early one-act sea-plays and the elaborate and innovative plays of the '20s and '30s where Nietzsche's influence is most clearly observed, to the more dramatically realistic final plays, O'Neill adapts and integrates Nietzsche's philosophy. In many of his most original and complex dramatic works he produced plays which are both a reflection of Nietzsche and a vehicle for his own philosophical and theatrical theories.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: American Literature