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The Iceman Cometh

The Iceman Cometh


by Eugene O’Neill

The Iceman Cometh Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. In The Iceman Cometh, what does the imaginary “Iceman” represent? Is it something different for each character? How can you tell?
  2. Could The Iceman Cometh be set in modern times? If you directed the play and wanted to set it in contemporary America, how would you go about doing it? What would be different and what would stay the same?
  3. Many characters in the play talk a whole bunch about the past or the future. How does constantly looking back and looking forward affect our present? How does it affect the present of these characters, specifically?
  4. Many of O’Neill’s stage directions and character descriptions are considered racist by contemporary standards. Should modern audiences and readers let O’Neill off the hook simply because he wrote during a different time?
  5. Who would be the perfect actor to play Hickey?
  6. The play is set in New York, but could Harry Hope’s represent a bar in any American city?
  7. How do the lies the characters tell throughout the play reveal who they are?
  8. Why are there only three women—and morally questionable ones at that—in The Iceman Cometh
  9. What does this say about gender roles in the era the play is set?
  10. Which character, if any, from The Iceman Cometh do you most identify with?