Eugene O'Neill, fully Eugene Gladstone O'Neill

O'Neill, fully Eugene Gladstone O'Neill

Irish American Playwright, Nobel Laureate in Literature

Author Quotes

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.

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.

A credulous, religious-minded fool, as I've pointed out! And he carried his credulity into the next period of his life, where he believed in one social or philosophical Ism after another, always on the trial of Truth! He was never courageous enough to face what he really knew was true, that there is no truth for men, that human life in unimportant and meaningless. No. He was always grasping at some absurd new faith to find and excuse for going on!

He thinks money spent on a home is money wasted. He's lived too much in hotels. Never the best hotels, of course. Second-rate hotels. He doesn't understand a home. He doesn't feel at home in it. And yet, he wants a home. He's even proud of having this shabby place. He loves it here.

If that ghost have money I tells him never to haunt you -- less'n he wants to lose it!

Let him come! I have seen them come before -- at Margesfontein, Spion Kiopje, Modder River. Stepping into battle, left right left right, waving their silly swords, so afraid they couldn't show off how brave they was, and with mine rifle I kills them so easy! [General Wetjoen talking about the Boer War]

We are such things as rubbish is made of, so let's drink up and forget it.

A man's work is in danger of deteriorating when he thinks he has found the one best formula for doing it. If he thinks that, he is likely to feel that all he needs is merely to go on repeating himself . . . so long as a person is searching for better ways of doing his work, he is fairly safe.

HOGAN: No, I wouldn't think it, but my motto in life is never trust anyone too far, not even myself.

I'm as drunk as a fiddler's bitch.

Let us be friends then from this out

We have electrocuted your God. Don't be a fool.

And if sometimes, on the stairs of a palace, or on the green side of a ditch, or in the dreary solitude of your own room, you should awaken and the drunkenness be half or wholly slipped away from you, ask of the wind, or of the wave, or of the star, or of the bird, or of the clock, or whatever flies, or sighs, or rocks, or sings, or speaks, ask what hour it is; and the wind, wave, star, bird, clock, will answer you: 'It is the hour to be drunken! Be drunken, if you would not be martyred slaves of Time; be drunken continually! With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will.

How thick the fog is. I can't see the road. All the people in the world could pass by and I would never know. I wish it was always that way. It's getting dark already. It will soon be night, thank goodness.

Irish as a Paddy's pig.

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!

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 look behind. For the day that was, was enough, for we was free men — and I'm thinking 'tis only slaves do be giving heed to the day that's gone or the day to come — until they're old like me.

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, you 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 towards nowhere for no good reason.

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

Is it one wid this you'd be, Yank — black smoke from the funnels smudging the sea, smudging the decks — the bloody engines pounding and throbbing and shaking — wid divil a sight of sun or a breath of clean air — choking our lungs wid coal dust — breaking our backs and hearts in the hell of the stokehole — feeding the bloody furnace — feeding our lives along wid the coal, I'm thinking — caged in by steel from a sight of the sky like bloody apes in the Zoo!

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

When men make gods, there is no God!

Be always drunken. Nothing else matters: that is the only question. If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time weighing on your shoulders and crushing you to the earth, be drunken continually.

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O'Neill, fully Eugene Gladstone O'Neill
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Irish American Playwright, Nobel Laureate in Literature