* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Iceman Cometh

The Iceman Cometh

by Eugene O’Neill

Defeat Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

LARRY: That’s because it’s the last harbor. No one here has to worry about where they’re going next, because there is no farther they can go. (1)

Is there something comforting about this level of defeat? What good can come from being at the absolute bottom?

Quote #2

LARRY: When you’re damned like that, the questions multiply for you until in the end it’s all question and no answer. (1)

Here, Larry gets pretty close to what he’s looking for. He says he’s out of the game and doesn’t care about anything and all that, but this suggests that he really just wants an answer to some of the big questions. The “Why are we here?” type questions. At the end of the play, he realizes that he’ll forever be seeing both sides of everything. This means that he’ll never really have an answer, he’ll just weigh one possibility against another. It’s not easy being Larry, people.

Quote #3

LARRY: I’ve nothing left to give, and I want to be left alone, and I’ll thank you to keep your life to yourself. (1)

Right off the bat, O’Neill has Larry drop some serious defeatist talk on us. In actuality, though, this makes Larry's turn at the end seem even more of a defeat. It turns out he really did have a little hope or care or something, but it all gets wiped out.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Noodle's College Search