Eugene O'Neill, fully Eugene Gladstone O'Neill

Eugene
O'Neill, fully Eugene Gladstone O'Neill
1888
1953

Irish American Playwright, Nobel Laureate in Literature

Author Quotes

All I know is that if you want to get anywhere with it, or with anything else, you have got to adopt an entirely different attitude from the one you have had toward getting an education. In plain words, you?ve got to make up your mind to study whatever you undertake, and concentrate your mind on it, and really work at it. This isn?t wisdom. Any damned fool in the world knows it?s true, whether it?s a question of raising horses or writing plays. You simply have to face the prospect of starting at the bottom and spending years learning how to do it.

I?m glad to know of your doing so much reading and that you?re becoming interested in Shakespeare. If you really like and understand his work, you will have something no one can ever take from you.

The best I can do is to try to encourage you to work hard at something you really want to do and have the ability to do. Because any fool knows that to work hard at something you want to accomplish is the only way to be happy. But beyond that it is entirely up to you. You?ve got to do for yourself all the seeking and finding concerned with what you want to do. Anyone but yourself is useless to you there? What I am trying to get firmly planted in your mind is this: In the really important decisions of life, others cannot help you. No matter how much they would like to. You must rely on yourself. That is the fate of each one of us. It can?t be changed. It just is like that. And you are old enough to understand this now. And that?s all of that. It isn?t much help in a practical advice way, but in another way it might be. At least, I hope so.

The trouble with you, I think, is you are still too dependent on others. You expect too much from outside you and demand too little of yourself. You hope everything will be made smooth and easy for you by someone else. Well, it?s coming to the point where you are old enough, and have been around enough, to see that this will get you exactly nowhere. You will be what you make yourself and you have got to do that job absolutely alone and on your own, whether you?re in school or holding down a job.

Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always will be the last resort of the boob and the bigot.

I hold more and more surely to the conviction that the use of masks will be discovered eventually to be the freest solution of the modern dramatist's problem as to how -- with the greatest possible dramatic clarity and economy of means -- he can express those profound hidden conflicts of the mind which the probings of psychology continue to disclose to us.

It will be faithful realism, at least. Stammering is the native eloquence of us fog people.

One may not give one's soul to a devil of hate — and remain forever scatheless.

Why canÂ’t you remember your Shakespeare and forget the third-raters. YouÂ’ll find what youÂ’re trying to say in him- as youÂ’ll find everything else worth saying. 'We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with sleep.'' 'Fine! ThatÂ’s beautiful. But I wasnÂ’t trying to say that. We are such stuff as manure is made on, so letÂ’s drink up and forget it. ThatÂ’s more my idea.

Curiosity killed the cat, and satisfaction brought it back.

I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room - and God damn it - died in a hotel room.

It's a great game - the pursuit of happiness.

Or rather, I inherited the acquired trait of the by-product, wealth, but none of the energy, none of the strength of the steel that made it. I am sired by gold and damned by it, as they say at the race track — damned in more ways than one.

Yes, I remember. I fell in love with James Tyrone and was so happy for a time

Dey's some things I don't got to be told. I kin read them in folks' eyes.

I lay on the bowsprit, with the water foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail white in the moonlight towering above me. I became drunk with the beauty and singing rhythm of it, and for a moment lost myself- actually lost my life. I was set free... dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm and the high dim-starred sky... I belonged within a unity and joy to life itself.

It's queer they'd be allowin' the sick ones to read books when I'll bet it's the same lazy readin' in the house bought the half of them down with the consumption itself.

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 — in quest of the secret which is hidden over there, beyond the horizon?

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! It isn't the end. It's a free beginning — the start of my voyage! I've won to my trip — the right of release — beyond the horizon! Oh, you ought to be glad — glad — for my sake!

Drunken with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will. But be drunken.

I listen to people talking about this universal breakdown we are in and I marvel at their stupid cowardice. It is so obvious that they deliberately cheat themselves because their fear of change won't let them face the truth. They don't want to understand what has happened to them. All they want is to start the merry-go-round of blind greed all over again. They no longer know what they want this country to be, what they want it to become, where they want it to go. It has lost all meaning for them except as pig-wallow. And so their lives as citizens have no beginnings, no ends. They have lost the ideal of the Land of the Free. Freedom demands initiative, courage, the need to decide what life must mean to oneself. To them, that is terror. They explain away their spiritual cowardice by whining that the time for individualism is past, when it is their courage to possess their own souls which is dead — and stinking! No, they don't want to be free. Slavery means security — of a kind, the only kind they have courage for. It means they need not to think. They have only to obey orders from owners who are, in turn, their slaves!

Keep on writing, no matter what! That's the most important thing. As long as you have a job on hand that absorbs all your mental energy, you haven't much worry to spare over other things. It serves as a suit of armor.

The child was diseased at birth, stricken with a hereditary ill that only the most vital men are able to shake off. I mean poverty - the most deadly and prevalent of all diseases.

You said they had found the secret of happiness because they had never heard that love can be a sin.

EDMUND: [with alcoholic talkativeness]: You've just told me some high spots in your memories. Want to hear mine? They're all connected with the sea. Here's one. When I was on the Squarehead square rigger, bound for Buenos Aires. Full moon in the Trades. The old hooker driving fourteen knots. I lay on the bowsprit, facing astern, with the water foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail white in the moonlight, towering high above me. I became drunk with the beauty and singing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself -- actually lost my life. I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! 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! To God, if you want to put it that way. Then another time, on the American Line, when I was lookout on the crow's nest in the dawn watch. A calm sea, that time. Only a lazy ground swell and a slow drowsy roll of the ship. The passengers asleep and none of the crew in sight. No sound of man. Black smoke pouring from the funnels behind and beneath me. Dreaming, not keeping lookout, feeling alone, and above, and apart, watching the dawn creep like a painted dream over the sky and sea which slept together. Then the moment of ecstatic freedom came. The peace, the end of the quest, the last harbor, the joy of belonging to a fulfillment beyond men's lousy, pitiful, greedy fears and hopes and dreams! And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had the same experience. Became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint's vision of beatitude. Like the veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see -- and seeing the secret, are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason!

Author Picture
First Name
Eugene
Last Name
O'Neill, fully Eugene Gladstone O'Neill
Birth Date
1888
Death Date
1953
Bio

Irish American Playwright, Nobel Laureate in Literature