The Iceman Cometh
by Eugene O’Neill
The Iceman Cometh Mortality Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act)
LARRY: What’s before me is the comforting fact that death is a fine long sleep, and I’m damned tired, and it can’t come too soon for me. (1)
Larry’s thoughts on death and his being through with life are really just his pipe dream. Remember, he’s the guy who says he’s the only one in the bar without a pipe dream, but you know the score—you’re way too clever to buy into that.
LARRY: Yes, it turned out it wasn’t a birthday feast but a wake! (3)
Larry’s little joke manages to tie the ideas of death and birth together rather nicely. This refers back to the poem he recites earlier where he says “Lo, sleep is good; better is death; in sooth,/The best of all were never to be born.” After listening to Larry, it wouldn’t be a huge leap to suggest that he’s the type of person who sees birth as the first inevitable step towards death. Wow. He’s not really a guy you’d want at your party.
ROCKY: Like he says, if yuh was so anxious to croak, why wouldn’t yuh hop off your fire escape long ago? (3)
This is the central question that Larry doesn’t manage to answer until almost the very end of the play. Even when he answers it, though, he knows that he won’t take any action to end his life. He’s stuck here.