At the end of his career Eugene O'Neill wrote three autobiographical masterpieces. They unflinchingly explore tragic conflicts between brothers, husbands and wives, and parents and children. Perhaps more than any other, Long Day's Journey Into Night exposes O'Neill's family experience, including his father's deep-seated fear of poverty, his mother's addiction to morphine, and his older brother's alcoholism.
Director Lloyd Richards says that this "could be described as a cruel thing because he exposed everybody." "There are good reasons in the play itself," O'Neill wrote to a friend not long after completing it, "why I'm keeping this one very much to myself." But "in the terrible moments" of the plays, director Sidney Lumet says, "come these bursts of revelation about all of our behavior -- about us, about who we are, and what we are and the way we are and what we do to each other. ... He illuminates life for you like with a lightning flash."
Should Eugene O'Neill have exposed his family's secrets in his plays?