The Iceman Cometh Themes

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Hope and the America

The promise of the American Dream, a goal of material prosperity and success, has long been regarded as a crucial element of American culture. For many, it is the possibility of this dream that separates America from other nations. It is the hope of the downtrodden. The faith Americans have in the dream, that, given enough ambition and determination, absolutely anyone can "make it" is almost religious in nature.

For the inhabitants of Harry Hope's Saloon, however, faith has led to despair; the dream has soured. O'Neill populates Hope's with characters from diverse backgrounds. Some, such as Willie Oban, a Harvard Law School graduate, and Jimmy Tomorrow, a former war correspondent, have come close to success—though it ultimately eluded their grasp. Others, such as Joe Mott, the former proprietor of a Negro gambling house, and Ed Mosher, a former circus man, have lived on...

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This section contains 1,035 words
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The Iceman Cometh from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.