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The Iceman Cometh
The Iceman Cometh
by Eugene O’Neill
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Foil

Character Role Analysis

Harry Hope/Jimmy Tomorrow

Harry and Jimmy have a lot in common. Both cling to pipe dreams and both spend their time thinking about better times. What makes them interesting foils to Larry and Hickey, though, is that the majority of Harry’s thoughts turn to the past, while Jimmy stays focused on the future.

Harry wants things to be the way they were in the old days when he had powerful friends. He’s created a myth of the past, and to him it is everything that the present should be. Jimmy, like all of the regulars at Harry’s, also clings to the past. The future, though, is where it’s at for him. The “Tomorrow” in his name says it all. He never takes action today, because he’ll be better prepared to act tomorrow.

While Harry dreams of a past that never really existed, Jimmy pictures a future that will never really come. These two foils provide insight into the range of pipe dreams taking place in the play.


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