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Three Great Plays: The Emperor Jones, Anna Christie and The Hairy Ape

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  205 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Winner of the Nobel prize for literature and 4 Pulitzer prizes, Eugene O'Neill is generally acknowledged as America's greatest playwright. The Emperor Jones is an expressionistic play much-admired for its powerful psychological portrayal of brute power, fear, and madness. The Hairy Ape combines elements of class struggle and surreal tragedy. Also includes Anna Christie.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 11th 2005 by Dover Publications (first published January 1st 1937)
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Aug 13, 2014 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part of why I like my local library is that I can find a 1938 edition of three Eugene O’Neill plays and read an introduction that is a contemporary rather than historical essay of the plays. Lionel Trilling’s introduction is the perfect preface to this collection, and if you can find this edition, I’d recommend it. As for the individual plays:

The Emperor Jones: Those who prefer their plays strongly rooted in reality should avoid this one. I’m mixed about expressionism, but I liked this tale of a
Jan 13, 2010 Don rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
Exciting plays. Especially love "The Emperor Jones".
Jan 11, 2008 Megan rated it liked it
Shelves: to-re-read, drama
Though I read all of these plays for academic games in high school, I really only remember "The Hairy Ape" and "The Emporer Jones".

O'Neill's plays on the whole are some of the best to read because they have a mix of mostly gritty realism with some fantastical or expressionistic elements; on the whole you can really "see" everything happening, and what the characters look like, and then you'll run into something fun that will really make your imagination work, and you just long to see how it mig
Mar 27, 2016 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The plays fell flat with me. But then, most of the plays I've read alone since college have also lacked something. I think it's in the nature of the thing -- better to read these aloud with a group, and best to see them performed.

I'm sure I'll reevaluate once I take in a good performance.
O'Neill does a fantastic job of illustrating the struggle of a character as they desperately cling to the remaining thread of their facade before it is forced from them, leaving them stripped of everything but their true forms; the inner ugliness and secrets kept hidden, crammed down into darker places, because their social acceptance depended on it. There is something appealing in that. The characters of these three plays (as well as the plays themselves) lack the depth and humorous disparity p ...more
Kate Dalton
Mar 16, 2016 Kate Dalton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've just read the last play in this book, "The Hairy Ape," but I enjoyed the dialect of it and the use of a Greek chorus throughout a more contemporary play. The main character, Yank, speaks like Pop-eye, but is profoundly sincere at several moments.
Katie Herring
Oct 30, 2014 Katie Herring rated it liked it
Shelves: play
I had to read 'The Hairy Ape' for class, and I finished the other two on my own. 'Anna Christie' was my favorite of the three.

The dialogues were hard to read, but I got through them.

'The Emperor Jones' reminded me of 'Their Eyes Were Watching God' for some reason.
Nicholas Brown
Oct 09, 2015 Nicholas Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Great plays! Emperor Jones was a fantastic read, so was Anna Christie. Very refreshing change from reading normal books.
Jan 10, 2011 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haven't read any O'Neill in more than 20 years and have thus far only read The Hairy Ape from this collection. Still settling in to it, but it's good enough to make me reread Emperor Jones. Gotta be a helluva challenge to stage this thing. O'Neill's dialect jangles like a brutal caricature (See: for reference) in my head, but Yank--the oppressed hairy ape/boiler man of the title who fits exactly nowhere--feels just as real and moving and in this thing as h ...more
Aug 22, 2007 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Emperor Jones and Anna Christie (you can buy the film with Greta Garbo--they did an English version and a German version) are two of my favorites by O'Neill. While they lack the epic scale, grandeur, and grace of Long Day's Journey (obviously a masterpiece), these plays are still brilliantly innovative and present a more raw vision of the experimentation that would be taken to Shakespeare-esque transcendent theater with LDJN. The drum beats of Emperor Jones!!! The dialogue in Anna Christie! ...more
Aug 31, 2012 Alfresco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Nietzsche had an Irish temperament he would be Eugene O'Neill. One of the greatest playwrights to ever live. He create his plays from an autobiographic perspective, lanced with wit, candor, and raw emotions.If i had to pick one from the three, Hairy Ape is one of his best plays "It takes a MAN to work in hell"! But read ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING O'Neill wrote he doesnt disappoint in showing the subtle tensions that make the human condition a tragic-comic one!
Dec 28, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it
'The Emperor Jones' was interesting but short, 'The Hairy Ape' less interesting but longer. My favourite was definitely 'Anna Christie' - a provocative work on love, sexuality, family, and redemption.
یوجین اونیل (1953-1888) نمایش نامه نویس آمریکایی برنده ی نوبل، متاثر از تیاتر واقع گرای چخوف و هنریک ایبسن بود. او که سال ها روی کشتی کار کرده بود، در اغلب آثار اولیه اش به زندگی ملاحان و سفرهای دریایی پرداخت. آخرین نمایش نامه های اونیل، بهترین آنها هستند که به نوعی تراژدی شخصیت های نومید مشهور اند.
Alex Scales
Feb 20, 2013 Alex Scales rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More of a 3.5 - These might be classics, but they aren't O'Neill's best work (I enjoyed The Hairy Ape quite a bit). The real draw here is just seeing a young O'Neill find his voice, and seeing how far he was attempting to push performance art right out of the gate.
I just don't like reading plays. Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose?
I didn't really not like it though. It just didn't add or subtract anything to/from my life at all, except maybe the hour or two spent reading it.
Apr 09, 2010 joey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
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Eugene Gladstone O'Neill was an American playwright who won the 1936 Nobel Prize in Literature "for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy." More than any other dramatist, O'Neill introduced American drama to the dramatic realism pioneered by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and Swedish playwr ...more
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