The Emperor Jones

O’Neill is by far the most famous and most people think the best American playwright. His combination of character analysis, emotional power, and artistic versatility commend themselves to the reader.

The Emperor Jones is a powerful story about the consequences of unforgiveness. The expatriate African American, Emperor Jones is escaping from his rebellious West Indian subjects. Jones’ heart is full of guile, evil, and, most of all, unforgiveness. As his pursuers draw closer Jones nervously imagines that he is still a slave. “What you all doin’, white folks? What’s all dis? What you all lookin’ at me fo’? What you doin’ wid me, anyhow?” Jones suddenly convulsed with raging fear and hatred. “Is dis a auction? Is you sellin’ me like dey uster befo’ de war?” Jones drew his revolver and fired at the imaginary white person. “I shows you I’se a free nigger, damn yo’ souls!” As the play progresses, O’Neill shows the Emperor Jones self-destructing.

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