Study Guide

The Great God Brown

by Eugene O’Neill

The Great God Brown Characters

Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

Dion Anthony

Dion Anthony, a talented but failed artist and architect. Dion’s dilemma is that of the creative and sensitive artist in the crass, materialistic world. In his youth, he starts on the course of ruination through drink and gambling. His dissipation is reflected in the mask this character sometimes carries and sometimes wears throughout this expressionistic play. In the opening scene, his mask shows the defiance and rebelliousness of a “sensual young Pan” and hides the more spiritual, poetic qualities of Dion’s face. Seven years later, his mask has hardened into an image of a bitter, mocking Mephistopheles, and his face has become more aged and strained but also more ascetic. At this point, Dion’s wife, Margaret, obtains a position for Dion as an architect with Billy Brown, a childhood friend. Although Dion produces successful designs, his disgust over selling out to materialism, to the Great God Brown, helps to complete the ravages on his face and mask. He dies seven years later, his face that of a martyr but his mask completely diabolic in its picture of cruelty and evil.

William A. (Billy) Brown

William A. (Billy) Brown, a successful architect, a good-looking, well-dressed, prosperous businessman. He has always loved Margaret and employs Dion at her request. Brown, however, takes credit for Dion’s ingenuity and designs, a betrayal that contributes to Dion’s decline. Dion dies in Brown’s...

(The entire section is 402 words.)

The Great God Brown Characters

Dion Anthony
O’Neill introduces his protagonist, Dion Anthony, as ‘‘lean and wiry, without repose, continually...

(The entire section is 1899 words.)