Study Guide

The Iceman Cometh Allusions

By Eugene O’Neill

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Literary and Philosophical References

Historical References

  • Anarchism. Anarchism gets mentioned throughout the play. Larry, Parritt, and Hugo are former members of the Cause, and Parritt’s mother has been arrested for her involvement. Now, this isn’t anarchy in the punk rock sort of way, this is a deadly violent movement that grew strong in Europe and America in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. You can do a little digging into the Cause with Time’s “A Brief History of Anarchism”.
  • Boer Wars. Like Anarchism, the Boer Wars come up throughout the play. Lewis and Wetjoen fought on opposite sides in the Second Boer War. These were two wars fought between the British and the South Africans. The first took place between 1880 and 1881. The second spanned from 1899 to 1902.
  • Carmagnole (2,4). A popular song during the French Revolution.
  • Cronje (1). Fought on the South African side against the British in the Boer Wars.
  • Robespierre (1). Being a good little revolutionary, Hugo gets compared to this major player in the French Revolution.

Pop Culture References

Old Timey Songs

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