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Narcissism, the Family, and Madness

A Self-Psychological Study of Eugene O'Neill and His Plays


Maria T. Miliora

Narcissism, the Family, and Madness applies the constructs of psychoanalytic self psychology – with a focus on narcissistic fantasies – to the life and works of Eugene O’Neill. The self psychological analysis of O’Neill’s plays enables us to see how narcissism and violence are intertwined in dysfunctional families. In many of the plays, violence and madness erupt when characters lose the important emotional experience of having a sense of belonging to a home and family. Another theme explored in the book is how family dynamics of a destructive nature contribute to individuals becoming chemically addicted. In short, the book addresses the important contemporary issues of dysfunctional families, violence, madness, and addictions and shows how these themes derive from O’Neill’s experiences growing up within an addicted family.