A Comparison of Tragedy in Long Day’s Journey into Night and A Dream of Red Mansion毕业论文_英语毕业论文

A Comparison of Tragedy in Long Day’s Journey into Night and A Dream of Red Mansion毕业论文


摘 要


《长日漫漫路迢迢》主要描述了以玛丽的毒瘾和埃德蒙的肺结核为中心的四个家庭成员一天的痛苦生活。《红楼梦》以贾、史、王、薛四大家族的兴亡为背景, 以宝玉、黛玉、宝钗之间的爱情、婚姻纠葛为线索贯穿始终,着重描写了贾家荣、宁二府由盛到衰的过程。本文试图通过比较两部作品的悲剧性表现形式,并探究悲剧产生的原因。从悲剧的表现形式上看,中国悲剧表现在家庭和社会层面,个人悲剧只是家庭悲剧的一部分。而西方悲剧则强调自由意志的作用,突出了行为的自律性。从产生悲剧的原因上看,西方悲剧中主人公是具有斗争性的,为了精神上的追求而造成悲剧。而中国悲剧的主人公往往不敢向传统观念挑战,对不合理的东西采取容忍态度,反对矛盾冲突,从而导致了悲剧的产生。本文认为这两部作品的伟大之处在于精妙地再现了各自文化的核心内容,深层次地揭示了中西方悲剧文化的差异。



  1. Introduction 1
  2. Demonstration 2
    1. The manifestation of tragedy 3
      1. The crisis of trust and compatibility 3
      2. Personal fear of society 5
      3. Self-degradation and exile 7
    2. The cause for tragedy 8
      1. Inappropriate expression of love 9
      2. Social unrest and political corruption 10
      3. Excessive pursuit for love 11
  3. Conclusion 13

Works Cited 14

Bibliography 15

A Contrastive study on Tragedy in Long Day’s Journey Into Night and A Dream of Red Mansion


Tragedy, which is an important literary genre, has reflected collision of human reality and nature. In the West, the tragic literature mainly embodies the life of frustration and struggle from philosophic height. In China, due to the influence and restriction of many factors, the tragic literature reflects more of social reality. Long Day’s Journey into Night and A Dream of Red Mansion are two famous tragedies in their respective country. Through contrasting manifestations and causes of the tragedy, this thesis attempts to reveal the difference of tragedy cultures in both China and the West.

Long Day’s Journey into Night is one of the American playwright Eugene O’Neil’s well-known tragic works. In Long Day’s Journey into Night, the reader can obviously have a strong sense of the tragic shock which is caused by the life cycle of the emptiness. Because Long Day’s Journey into Night has an important position in the American theater, much domestic and overseas scholars have done much research on the work. Scholars have studied O’Neil’s tragic masterpiece–Long Day’s Journey into Night from different aspects, including the interpretation of imagery, the analysis of personality, the interpretation of tragic meaning, the expressive form of art and so on. Li Ziyi’s “The image interpretation of Long Day’s Journey into Night” mainly unscrambles Eugene O’Neil’s drama creation from the image of “fog” and “wine” (Li Ziyi, 2015). Zhang Xinying’s “Theory of the characters’ tragic origin in Long Day’s Journey into Night” shows the tragic origin of Tyrone from the ever-changing appearance, love and hatred and two self hood conflicts (Zhang Xinying, 2006). Shen Jianqin’s “Struggle and resistance in craziness: About Long Day’s Journey into Night in Marie” focuses on the heroine Marie, maintaining that Marie’s madness becomes not only her escape from despair, but also her resistance to the “negative role as an

understanding wife and loving mother” (Shen Jianqin, 2003). Marie’s artistic image shows the nineteenth century American women in the traditional gender role under the weight of the helpless struggle and loneliness.

Cao Xueqin is one of the greatest writers in China. His A Dream of Red Mansion is famous for not only its large-scale and rigorous structure but also complex plot and vivid description, and has created many lively images with typical character, thus called the peak of ancient Chinese novel writing and occupies an important position in the history of the world literature. The academic society has come about with a specialized knowledge from the vintage of the author, version, text, and other aspects of research and discussion about A Dream of Red Mansion, which is called Redology. For example, A Short History of Chinese Fiction written by Lu Xun made a thorough inquiry in tragic ideology and artistry of A Dream of Red Mansion from the angle of society and life (Lu Xun, 1973). Xu Jizhong’s “The institutional and cultural reasons of female tragedy in A Dream of Red Mansion” analyzes the causes for the female tragedy in the aspects of ancient Chinese patriarchal system and autocratic system and so on, all of which has exerted a far-reaching influence on Redology (Xu Jizhong, 2015).

However, the academic community has never compared and noticed the contrast

between the two works, so this paper attempts to contrast the two works in terms of tragedy to explore the cultural differences between China and the West. This paper is divided into three parts. The first is to introduce the authors, the works and the research that has been done so far. The second is to analyze the manifestations and causes of the tragedy in the two works, forming the main body. Part three is Conclusion, which summarizes this paper and reveals the significance of this study.


As for the importance of tragedy, Eugene O’Neil said: The happiness of a real tragedy is more than the happiness of all the plays that have been so happy (Chico). This shows the importance of tragedy to the expression of the author’s ideas. Tragedy

is one of the main genre of drama. In the history of drama, according to the different scope of the tragedy involved in life, tragedy generally is divided into four types. First is the hero tragedy. Second is the family tragedy. The third is the performance of “little” extraordinary tragedy of fate. The forth is tragedy of society and human. Long Day’s Journey into Night is a family tragedy. But A Dream of Red Mansion is not only a family tragedy but also a personal tragedy and a social tragedy. Leo Tolstoy mentioned in his Anna Karenina in the very beginning, “All happy families are like one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” It means that there are many causes of tragedy, and there are many different tragic endings. So to compare the two tragedy works, we can analyze from at least two aspects: one is the manifestation of tragedy, the other is the cause for the tragedy.

    1. The manifestation of tragedy

In my opinion, the analysis of the works of tragedy is to demonstrate the tragedy of the character to see the end of the work. The importance of the expression in the work lies in that the author can express the main idea of the work with the tragic ending of destruction or dull ending or happy ending and so on. The ending of the two works can be analyzed from the same three aspects, but the cultural differences contained in the two works can be seen from three aspects. The three aspects are the crisis of trust and compatibility, fear of society and self-degradation and exile.

      1. The crisis of trust and compatibility

As a family drama to represent the life of ordinary family, the tragedy is a representation of domestic trivia and the delicate emotional entanglements between family members. In the play of Long Day’s Journey into Night, they have a serious conflict and strong resentment. They torture and resent each other (Li Mei, 100). For example, the most severe outbreak of the conflict comes with his eldest son Jamie. Jamie’s accusation of his father’s meanness causes Tyrone’s indignation of indolence and extravagance. And Jamie counter-charges that Father sees himself as a hired man without pay. For example, there is such a dialogue in the fourth act:

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