The Iceman Cometh

by: Eugene O'Neill

Important Quotations Explained

And then I saw I'd always known that was the only possible way to give her peace and free her from the misery of loving me. I saw it meant peace for me, too, knowing she was at peace. I felt as though a ton of guilt was lifted off my mind. I remember I stood by the bed and suddenly I had to laugh. I couldn't help it, and I knew Evelyn would forgive me. I remember I heard myself speaking to her, as if it was something I'd always wanted to say: "Well, you know what you can do with your pipe dream now, you damned bitch!"

Hickey confesses to Evelyn's murder toward the end of Act IV over and against the protests of his friends. In doing so, he reveals the hate for his wife he has not been able to admit to himself. In doing so, he exposes his gospel of salvation as its own pipe dream. According to this gospel, Evelyn's death liberates them both from the pipe dream of his reformation. Here Hickey reveals in spite of himself the murder as an act vengeance. Note how up until its revelation, he attempts to keep his hate at bay. For example, he hears himself, as if a distance, condemning Evelyn to death.