In some ways, I do prefer this sequel to Long Day's Journey into Night. A Moon for the Misbegotten
takes place approximately ten years after the events of the former play, focusing on the final days of James Tyrone, Jr, who’s drowned himself in alcohol to help ward off those personal demons that haunted and tormented his memories for all these years. Throughout these years, he’s looked for purity and innocence—a love that he could truly cherish, and seems to have finally found it in the form of the tall, plain Josie Hogan.
What makes this play more beautiful than Long Day’s Journey into Night
is the lyrical quality to O’Neill’s dialogue. Like the former play, there’s the dark murky sense of bitterness and sadness paired with a bleak sense of humor. But here, there’s also a sense of tangible hope and happiness that manages to shine through, like the moonlight that brings James and Josie together that night on the steps of Josie’s front porch.
Though the play does offer some happiness for its characters, it’s also bittersweet. But then again, I only know of one true happy Eugene O’Neill play, that being Ah, Wilderness!.
Regardless, this is definitely a beautiful play and one of my favorites.