(sub)Text: Fate and Blame in “Long Day’s Journey into Night”

Who is to blame for Mary Tyrone’s morphine addiction? Is it Mary herself? Is it Edmund, her younger son, after whose difficult birth Mary was first prescribed the drug? Is it Jamie, her older son, who caused the death of the brother that Edmund was born to replace? Is it the doctor who prescribed morphine too readily? Or is it James, Mary’s husband, who hired a third-rate doctor because he was too cheap to pay for his wife’s proper care? James, in turn, will have his own story to tell of familial suffering and a miserliness acquired from a childhood fear of the poorhouse. To ask who is to blame for Mary’s addiction, or for the alcoholism that seems to plague every other Tyrone, is to ask who or what is responsible for our own suffering. Are our woes self-created—or at least self-perpetuated? Or is suffering something visited upon us by caregivers, the legacies of nature or nurture that we are powerless to control? If so, whom do we have the right to accuse? Wes & Erin discuss.

The conversation continues on our after-show (post)script. Get (post)script episodes by becoming a paid subscriber at Patreon or directly on the Apple Podcasts app. Patreon subscribers also get early access to ad-free regular episodes.

This podcast is part of the Airwave Media podcast network. Visit AirwaveMedia.com to listen and subscribe to other Airwave shows like Food with Former New York Times food journalist and bestselling author Mark Bittman; and Movie Therapy, in which Siskel & Ebert meets Dear Abby.

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