Lacanian Orders in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night

Sima Farshid, Bita Darabi Darabi


This paper presents a Lacanian reading of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night (1941) by drawing on the psychic orders the well-known French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan has propounded. He holds that human psyche is formed of three orders (the Imaginary, the Symbolic and the Real) which mold the unconscious mind and motivate human actions and reactions. He also argues that the Other has an immense impact on the formation of psychic orders, especially the Symbolic, and hence on one’s identity. The present article attempts to investigate the three orders of the characters O’Neill has portrayed in Long Day’s Journey into Night, besides the role of the Other in the formation of those orders. The reactions of these characters to the outside world are regarded here as the outer presentation of their troubled mind. It is also discussed that the mental and physical problems and disorders of these characters, such as their addiction to alcohol and drugs, are the outcome of their repressed desires which have remained unfulfilled because of the rules defined and imposed on them by the Other – hence the frustrating sense of lack observed in all four characters.



Psychic orders, the unconscious, the Other, desire, lack

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