The Iceman Cometh

by: Eugene O'Neill

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

I know you become such a coward that you'll grab at any lousy excuse to get out of killing your pipe dreams. And yet, as I've told you over and over, it's exactly those damned tomorrow dreams which keep you from making peace with yourself. So you've got to kill them like I did.

This excerpt from one of Hickey's many sermons to the saloon's residents comes in Act III. It summarizes his gospel. Man must kill his pipe dream or else suffer guiltily under its weight; only the destruction of tomorrow and confrontation with the reality of his desires will give him peace. Here especially the violence in Hickey's gospel becomes clear. Note also how his style unnerving combines that of the priest and traveling salesman. The spectator already hears the anxiety in Hickey's preaching, and desperately does he convince himself of its truth.