The Hairy Ape Essay

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Clark delineates the dramatic elements of O'Neill's play that qualify the work as a tragedy. Central to the discussion is the main character Yank's transition from an uncomprehending brute to an aware thinker.

The Hairy Ape has been widely praised and widely reprinted. Most reviewers and critics have agreed that it has unusual power and unusual ability to project its sense of tragedy. But critics have disagreed on where that sense of tragedy comes from and, in consequence, on basic matters of interpretation. Early critics saw its power in its brutal naturalism, for a long tune hardly noticing the expression-istic techniques—and disregarding O'Neill's explicit instructions that the treatment of the scenes "should by no means be naturalistic." More recently commentators have recognized some of the complex ways in which this comparatively direct and simple play works. I like much of Doris V. Falk's analysis in psychoanalytic...

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This section contains 3,667 words
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The Hairy Ape from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.