He slips on the floor and dies. The monkeys set up a chattering, whimpering wail. And, perhaps, the Hairy Ape at last belongs."

This quote, the final stage direction of the play in Scene Eight, evokes a sense of Yank coming home to the animal world. O'Neill's final reading of the play is clear: Yank is accepted by the animal kingdom, finally discovering the sense of "belonging" he has been searching for. Yank has been rejected from human society and has finally found refuge in the basest form of himself—the animal. However, this refuge is death. Yank finally finds refuge as he lies dead on the floor of the ape's cage.

Yank's death can be interpreted in numerous ways. O'Neill reveals that such a bond between a living human and animal is unattainable on Earth, but also suggests that the impetus for Yank's belonging is his death—he has succumbed to nature and been destroyed by it.