Breakfast 1916 by Eugene O' Term Paper

Total Length: 709 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

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The audience at this time could remain entirely unsuspicious of what is actually happening to Alfred, if it weren't from the casual commentaries Mrs. Rowland drops as to his appearance and gestures. Also, the event is intentionally trivialized; the title deceives the audience to think that the play is about the domestic life of a family "before breakfast." The suicide is done again at a trivial moment, when Alfred is shaving in his bedroom. The drama that erupts in the middle of domestic life is thus much more shocking. The rising action can only be noticed by the able reader who grasps the signals of the husband's real state of mind. The structure is so built nevertheless that everything is seen from Mrs. Rowling's perspective, emphasizing the fact that she is completely unaware of what is going on to her husband. To her, the haggard look on his face and his trembling hands are no more than signs of his weakness and drunkenness. She is completely blind to his suffering, while she drowns herself in her own bitterness: "How awful you look this morning! For heaven's sake, shave! You're disgusting! You look like a tramp.No wonder no one will give you a job."(O'Neill, 249) the falling action is indeed a consummate moment of the play. While Alfred is trying to kill himself, his wife still interprets his gesture as part of his clumsiness, and is even satisfied that he is taught a lesson: "(With satisfaction) There! I knew you'd cut yourself. it'll be a lesson to you."(O'Neill, 250) it is only at the very end that she realizes she has been talking alone all the time, and begins to be startled by his silence. Thus, the play has a masterful structure: made of a prolonged monologue, it forces the reader to be absent from the drama that is happening in the next room, just like Mrs. Rowling herself is absent.

Works Cited

O'Neill, Eugene. Plays: Beyond the Horizon, the Straw and Before Breakfast. New….....

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