Eugene O'Neill Monologues

Thirst (Dancer)

Dancer says

He did not escape. He is dead!

Yes. He was on the bridge. I can remember seeing his face as he stood in under a lamp. It was pale and drawn like the face of a dead man. His eyes, too, seemed dead. He shouted some orders in a thin, trembling voice. No one paid any attention to him. And then he shot himself.

I saw the flash, and heard the report above all the screams of the drowning. Someone grasped me the arm and I heard a hoarse voice shouting in my ear.

Then I fainted.

Thirst (Gentleman)

Gentleman says

You were very beautiful.

I was looking at you and wondering what kind of a woman you were. You know I had never met you personally–only seen you in my walks around the deck.

Then came the crash–that horrible dull crash. We were all thrown forward on the floor of the salon; then screams, oaths, fainting women, the hollow boom of a bulkhead giving way. I vaguely remember rushing to my stateroom and picking up my wallet. It must have been that menu that I took instead. Then I was on deck fighting in the midst of the crowd. Somehow I got into a boat–but it was overloaded and was swamped immediately. I swam to another boat. They beat me off with the oars. That boat too was swamped a moment later. And then the gurgling, choking cries of the drowning! Something huge rushed me in the water, leaving a gleaming trail of phosphorescence.

A woman near me with a life belt around her gave a cry of agony and disappeared–then I realized–sharks! I became frenzied with terror. I swam. I beat the water with my hands. The ship had gone down. I swam and swam with but one idea–to put all that horror behind me. I saw something white on the water before me. I clutched it–climbed on it. It was this raft. You and he were on it.

I fainted. The whole thing is a horrible nightmare in my brain–but I remember clearly that idiotic remark of the woman in the salon. What pitiful creatures we are!

Thirst (Gentleman)

Gentleman says

You must not despair so. I, too, might whine a prayer of protest: Oh God, God! After twenty years of incessant grind, day after weary day, I started on my first vacation. I was going home. And here I sit dying slow degrees, desolate and forsaken. Is this the meaning of all my years of labor?

Is this the end, oh God? So I might wail with equal justice. But the blind sky will not answer your appeals or mine. Nor will the cruel sea grow merciful for any prayer of ours. I have not given up hope.

These seas, I have heard, are full of coral islands and we surely ought to drift near one of them soon. It was probably an uncharted coral reef that our steamer hit.

I heard someone say “derelict” but I saw no sign of one in the water. With us it is only a question of whether we can hold out until we sight land.

Water would save us — just a little water — even a few drops would be enough.

God, if we only had a little water!

Thirst (Dancer)

Dancer says

He was kind and brave to me. He meant well. Yet I wish now he had let me die.

I would have been way down in the cold green water. I would have been sleeping, coldly sleeping. While now my brain is scorched with sun-fire and dream-fire. And I am going mad. Your eyes shine with a wild flame at times–and that sailor’s are horrible with strangeness–and mine see great drops of blood that dance upon the sea. Yes, we are all mad.

God! Oh God! Must this be the end of all? I was coming home, home after years of struggling, home to success and fame and money. And I must die out here on a raft like a mad dog.

Thirst (Dancer)

Dancer says

Look, you have stolen our water. You deserve to be killed. We will forget all that.

Look at this necklace. It was given to me an English duke–a nobleman. It is worth a thousand pounds–five thousand dollars. It will provide for you for the rest of your life. You need not be a sailor any more. You need never work at all any more.

Do you understand what that means? That water that you stole–well, I will give you this necklace–they are all real diamonds, you know–five thousand dollars–for that water.

You need not give me all of it. I am not unreasonable. You may keep some for yourself. I would not have you die. I want just enough for myself and my friend–to keep us alive until we reach some island. My lips are cracked with heat! My head is bursting!

Here, take the necklace. It is yours.

The Straw (Carmody)

Carmody says

Don’t be talking of the trip. Sure we’re glad to take it to get a sight of you. It’s three months since I’ve had a look at you, and I was anxious. Why haven’t you written a line to us? You could do that without trouble, surely. Don’t you ever think of us at all any more? You’re not asking a bit of news from home. I’m thinkin’ the people out here have taken all the thought of us out of your head. We’re all well, thank God. I’ve another good job on the streets from Murphy and one that’ll last a long time, praise be! I’m needin’ it surely, with all the expenses- but no matter. Billy had a raise from his old skinflint of a boss a month back. He’s gettin’ seven a week now and proud as a turkey. He was comin’ out with us to-day, but he’d a date with his girl. Sure, he’s got a girl now, the young bucko! What d’you think of him? It’s old Malloy’s girl he’s after- the pop-eyed one with glasses, you remember- as ugly as a blind sheep, only he don’t think so. He said to give you his love.

(Eileen stirs and sighs wearily, a frown appearing for an instant on her forehead.)

And Tom and Nora was comin’ out too, but Father Fitz had some doin’s or other up to the school, and he told them to be there, so they wouldn’t come with us, but they sent their love to you, too. They’re growin’ so big you’d not know them. Tom’s no good at the school. He’s like Billy was. I’ve had to take the strap to him often. He’s always playin’ hooky and roamin’ the streets. And Nora.

(With pride.)

There’s the divil for you! Up to everything she is and no holdin’ her high spirits. As pretty as a picture, and the smartest girl in her school, Father Fitz says. Am I lyin’, Maggie?

The Straw (Eileen)

Eileen says

Then I want to say- I know your secret. You don’t love me- Isn’t that it? Sssh! It’s all right, dear. You can’t help what you don’t feel. I’ve guessed you didn’t- right along. And I’ve loved you- such a long time now- always, it seems. And you’ve sort of guessed- that I did- didn’t you? No, don’t speak! I’m sure you’ve guessed- only you didn’t want to know- that- did you? – when you didn’t love me. That’s why you were lying- but I saw, I knew! Oh, I’m not blaming you, darling. How could I- never! You mustn’t look so- so frightened. I know how you felt, dear. I’ve- I’ve watched you. It was just a flirtation for you at first. Wasn’t it? Oh, I know. It was just fun, and– Please don’t look at me so. I’m not hurting you, am I? I wouldn’t for worlds, dear- you know- hurt you! And then afterwards- you found we could be such good friends- helping each other- and you wanted it to stay just like that always, didn’t you?- I know- and then I had to spoil it all- and fall in love with you- didn’t I? Oh, it was stupid- I shouldn’t- I couldn’t help it, you were so kind and- and different- and I wanted to share in your work and- and everything. I knew you wouldn’t want to know I loved you- when you didn’t- and I tried hard to be fair and hide my love so you wouldn’t see- and I did, didn’t I, dear? You never knew till just lately- maybe not till just to-day- did you?- when I knew you were going away so soon- and couldn’t help showing it. You never knew before, did you? Did you?

The Straw (Miss Gilpin)

Miss Gilpin says

She saw that you didn’t love her- any more than you did in the days before you left. Oh, I used to watch you then. I sensed what was going on between you. I would have stopped it then out of pity for her, if I could have, if I didn’t know that any interference would only make matters worse. And then I thought that it might be only a surface affair- that after you were gone it would end for her. You’ll have to forgive me for speaking to you so boldly on a delicate subject. But, don’t you see, it’s for her sake. I love Eileen. We all do. I know how Eileen feels, Mr. Murray. Once- a long time ago- I suffered as she is suffering- from this same mistake. But I had resources to fall back upon that Eileen hasn’t got- a family who loved me and understood- friends- so I pulled through. But it spoiled my life for a long time. So I feel that perhaps I have a right to speak for Eileen who has no one else.

The Straw (Stanton)

Stanton says

Strictly speaking, there are no sure cures in this disease, Mr. Sloan. When we permit a patient to return to take up his or her activities in the world, the patient is what we call an arrested case. The disease is overcome, quiescent; the wound is healed over. It’s then up to the patient to so take care of himself that this condition remains permanent. It isn’t hard for them to do this, usually. Just ordinary, bull-headed common sense- added to what they’ve learned here- is enough for their safety. And the precautions we teach them to take don’t diminish their social usefulness in the slightest, either, as I can prove our statistics of former patients. It’s rather early in the morning for statistics, though.

The Hairy Ape (Mildred)

Mildred says

Please do not mock at my attempts to discover how the other half lives. Give me credit for some sort of groping sincerity in that at least. I would like to help them. I would like to be some use in the world. Is it my fault I don’t know how? I would like to be sincere, to touch life somewhere.

(With weary bitterness.)

But I’m afraid I have neither the vitality nor integrity. All that was burnt out in our stock before I was born. Grandfather’s blast furnaces, flaming to the sky, melting steel, making millions- then father keeping those home fires burning, making more millions- and little me at the tail-end of it all. I’m a waste product in the Bessemer process- like the millions. Or rather, I inherit the acquired trait of the by-product, wealth, but none of the energy, none of the strength of the steel that made it. I am sired gold and darned it, as they say at the race track- damned in more ways than one.