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Analysis

Literary Devices in The Iceman Cometh

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Small Room, Big City The windows in Harry Hope’s are so stained they fail the transparency test. Everything about the place reeks of the past and decay, which mirrors the lives of the men and...

Narrator Point of View

No narrator here. We've got ourselves a living, breathing play.

Genre

Drama is literature written to be performed, and The Iceman Cometh definitely belongs on the stage. While reading the play offers a great look into the world O’Neill has created and the themes...

Tone

If you’re having a bad day and you’re in need of a pick-me-up, the work of Eugene O’Neill may not be the way to go. The Iceman Cometh paints a picture of the world in which life seems bleak...

Writing Style

The Real Deal Before realism came to the stage there was a whole lot of mustache twisting and over-acting going on. O’Neill deserves a lot of the credit (or castigation, depending on your view...

What's Up With the Title?

In the old days, when Hickey was loved and adored by all, he used to tell stories of how he caught his dear wife Evelyn having an affair with the Iceman (things like ice and milk used to get delive...

What's Up With the Ending?

Parritt lies dead and undiscovered outside. Hickey has been carted off to jail. Larry claims he is the only “real convert to death Hickey made here” (4), Harry yells for Larry to come get drunk...

Tough-o-Meter

Old fashioned lingo and forgotten dialects in the dialogue can make this one a little tough to get into. On top of that, it’s a dark play and it’s a long play. It’s definitely not all moonbea...

Plot Analysis

Down and Out in Harry Hope’sThe regulars and tenants of Harry Hope’s bar and boarding house sleep off their hangovers, avoid the newcomer Don Parritt, talk about their pipe dreams, and anxiousl...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

The Iceman Cometh shares a number of aspects with the tragedies of old, but it shouldn’t be seen as a shining example of the form. One reason for this is that there isn’t a clear-cut hero in O...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Let’s try to squeeze this four act play into the classic three act structure. It’s not a perfect fit with The Iceman Cometh, because so much talking goes on after the climax, which to be honest...

Trivia

Lee Marvin, who played Hickey in the 1975 movie version of the play, is known mainly for playing tough guys. Did you know he appeared in a Hollywood musical with other famous tough guy Clint Eastwo...

Steaminess Rating

With three prostitutes strutting around, you’d think things would get a little more steamy in this joint, but they never really go there. While Pearl, Margie, and Cora might share a story about s...

Allusions

Heinrich Heine, Morphine (1)Sherlock Holmes (2) Anarchism. Anarchism gets mentioned throughout the play. Larry, Parritt, and Hugo are former members of the Cause, and Parritt’s moth...
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