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The Hairy Ape Summary
Eugene O'Neill

Everything you need to understand or teach The Hairy Ape by Eugene O'Neill.

  • The Hairy Ape Summary & Study Guide
  • 30 The Hairy Ape Lessons
  • 20 Activities
  • 180 Multiple Choice Questions
  • 60 Short Essay Questions
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The Hairy Ape Summary


Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape was first produced on March 9, 1922, by the Provincetown Players, a theatrical group that he co-founded. The work was staged in New York City at the company's own Provincetown Theatre. Publication of the play occurred that same year. By this time O'Neill was already an established playwright, having won two Pulitzer Prizes. The Hairy Ape represented something of a departure for him, being an exploration into a more expressionistic style than his previous plays.

The Hairy Ape had been written rather quickly in 1921, and the first production left little time between the final draft and the start of rehearsals. There is some dispute as to who actually directed the first production, with evidence that a triumvirate of Anthony Hopkins, James Light, and O'Neill contributed to the stage direction.

Alexander Woollcot reported in the New York Times that this Provincetown production was "a bitter, brutal, wildly...

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