In both his personal relationships and his work, O’Neill embodies the flawed American character: alienated, isolated, guilty, and unable to separate from the family. Although he expresses concern with American greed, materialism, extravagance, and hypocrisy, he also probes deep into his own family romance. By revealing himself, he reveals theatergoers to themselves.
Sometimes called the father of American drama, O’Neill demonstrated to the world that the American theater could be serious, moving, artistic, and truthful. Many critics believe that the O’Neill canon towers above that of all other twentieth century dramatists.