The Iceman Cometh

by: Eugene O'Neill

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Capitalist svine! Stupid bourgeois monkeys! (He declaims) "The days grow hot, O Babylon!" (They all take it up and shout in enthusiastic jeering chorus) " 'Tis cool beneath they willow trees!"

The lines above close the play. The members of the saloon have returned to their carousing upon Hickey's "confession" of insanity and arrest; unbeknowst to them, Parritt has just committed suicide.

Here Hugo leads the group's cheer. Hugo has delivered his drunken, longing refrain on Babylon throughout the play. His monotonous, poignant, and ominous vision of Babylon represents the leitmotif of the pipe dream, the delusions continually rehearsed within the social theater of Hope's saloon. Here the residents sing the refrain in unison to close the play. This final vocal arrangement grimly dramatizes the primary organizing principle of the play. The characters' myriad of tales uniformly find voice in what Travis Bogard describes as the "essential action" of the pipe dream. The invocation of Babylon also recalls Larry's comment at Hope's birthday party on the feast of Belshazzar. Despite the festivities, the writing Hickey has left on the wall remains. The party appears condemned to the living death in which the play began.