Standard Ebooks

The Hairy Ape

Eugene O’Neill


Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape isn’t one of his best-known works, but it has gained popularity as an exploration of early American society. It was first produced in 1922 by the Provincetown Players in Massachussetts, embracing expressionism in its set design and staging, before moving on to Broadway, where it faced resistance from local and federal governments due to its radical views.

The play examines the existential crisis of the protagonist, a brutish stoker named Yank, who begins the play secure in his role as the leader of firemen on an Atlantic ocean liner. But when confronted by the disdain of an upper-class passenger who calls him a “filthy beast,” he seeks to rebel against his place. Then, as all his plans for revenge fail, he slowly finds himself descending to the literal level that society has relegated him to.

O’Neill uses Yank’s search for belonging to explore the destructive forces of industrialization and social class. Early on, The Hairy Ape’s commentary on the dehumanization of workers caused it to be taken up by many labor groups and unions to further their own causes. The play also touches on themes of masculinity and socialism, and the repeated references to the “blackface” of the ship’s stokers and Yank’s degeneration into an animal have added a racial element to recent analyses.

Read free

This ebook is only thought to be free of copyright restrictions in the United States. It may still be under copyright in other countries. If you’re not located in the United States, you must check your local laws to verify that the contents of this ebook are free of copyright restrictions in the country you’re located in before downloading or using this ebook.

Download for ereaders

Read online

A brief history of this ebook

  1. Rearrange CSS

  2. Update play typography to new standards

  3. Update play CSS to new standard

  4. Move possessives inside persona elements

  5. Update core.css to new standards

More details

Improve this ebook

Anyone can contribute to make a Standard Ebook better for everyone!

To report typos, typography errors, or other corrections, see how to report errors.

If you’re comfortable with technology and want to contribute directly, check out this ebook’s GitHub repository and our contributors section.

You can also donate to the Standard Ebooks project to help fund continuing improvement of this and other ebooks.