Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Eugene O’Neill's The Hairy Ape. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Hairy Ape: Introduction
The Hairy Ape: Plot Summary
The Hairy Ape: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Hairy Ape: Themes
The Hairy Ape: Quotes
The Hairy Ape: Characters
The Hairy Ape: Symbols
The Hairy Ape: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Eugene O’Neill
Historical Context of The Hairy Ape
Other Books Related to The Hairy Ape
- Full Title: The Hairy Ape
- When Published: The Hairy Ape was published in 1921 and premiered in 1922
- Literary Period: Expressionism, Realism
- Genre: Drama, Expressionism
- Setting: The play begins on an ocean liner presumably sometime around the beginning of the 20th century. The setting later shifts to New York City.
- Climax: Mildred visits the stokehole, sees Yank raving like a lunatic with his shovel raised violently over his head, and calls him a “filthy beast” before fainting.
- Antagonist: The competitive, individualistic worldview that prevents Yank from recognizing the nature of his own oppression
Extra Credit for The Hairy Ape
Marrying Mildred. In 1929, O’Neill left his second wife and two children to marry Carlotta Monterey, who portrayed Mildred Douglas in the 1922 production of The Hairy Ape.
Chaplin. O’Neill disowned his daughter Oona—whom he had with his second wife—when she was 18 because she married Charlie Chaplin, who was at that time 54 (a mere six months younger than O’Neill himself). They remained married until Chaplin’s death 34 years later.