『위대한 신 브라운』에 나타난 가면과 인간 소외
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- This study is aimed to find out the alienation of human existence through a mask used in the work by Eugene O'Neill. Ultimately, O'Neill was focused on the issue of alienation raised when a human fails to demonstrate his or her true self due to conflicts in the human heart, that is, dual personalities of a human by introducing the wearing of a mask in his work.
O'Neill fully expressed its theme, that is, the aspect of alienation, through the characteristics and change of a mask in "The Great God Brown", and in this story, four main characters including Dion Anthony, William Brown, Margaret, and Cybel, are using their mask each, thus, they have another masked faces along with their real faces.
What O'Neill eventually intended to propose from the mask of such characters was diverse aspects of alienation of human existence. First, it is an awareness of alienation that a human feels when neither he or she can show his true appearance to his or her family nor can be understood as well as when he or she feels a sense of shame caused by conflicts between external self and internal self of his or her own self. An antagonist Dion is best expressing such a theme through his mask, and his wife Margaret or his sons never understand him. Therefore, he is the more trapped in an isolated world without receiving any consolation from them.
Second, indicating that the true self of an individual that pursues mental values in modern society is threatened by unsound phenomena of society, particularly, materialistic selfishness, O'Neill highlighted the absence of mental values appeared primarily due to unsound social phenomena, and an individual awareness of alienation and critical awareness generated from the absence of mental values. Therefore, he showed the appearance of modern people who fail to belong to society and are alienated from society because those people could not be backed up by mental culture in this society rich with material prosperities. The fact that Dion came to work in Brown's company while giving up his dream to be a pure artist as he failed to win recognition with his creative ability in society where money talks, is a part where we can notice O'Neill??s critical view toward modern culture.
Third, the antagonists alienated from family and society tried to overcome their problem of alienation by seeking God ultimately, however, their effort turned out to be a failure and they could not find any key to salvation. Thus their experience of alienation is even more intensified. Dion and Brown both ceaselessly aspire to have comfort and salvation from God in their lives, yet, they are showing the existent anxiety and discouragement of modern people who are confronted with the crisis of the loss of self by experiencing the absence of God as universal tragedy of human beings.
However, as O'Neill viewed that death is not an end but rather a creation of new life through the death of Dion and Brown who came to reflect on and perceive themselves by daringly facing their last moment with the help of Cybel, he proposed positive and active ways of solving the problem of alienation of human existence.
If we say alienation is inevitable to human beings, we can say that it needs to overcome such alienation by positive and active internal forces. The Great God Brown is considerably meaningful even to contemporary people who live in the era of alienation in the 21st century in that O'Neill enabled them to think of the meaning of the right orientation of the value of life by acutely uncovering the problem of alienation of human existence, and being attentive to the mental crisis of modern people.
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