Teacher Guide

The Iceman Cometh Lesson Plan

Introduction to The Iceman Cometh

O’Neill based The Iceman Cometh on his own experiences in 1912. He had just returned to the city from Argentina and spent the year holed up drinking in seedy bars. One of these bars was Jimmy “The Priest’s” on Fulton Street, where he boarded, and he also frequented two others - the Garden Hotel’s taproom and the Hell Hole (or Golden Swan). Many of the men he encountered and befriended provided the templates for characters in the play. Despite O’Neill’s nostalgia for this time, however, it was also a traumatic one: at Jimmy’s O’Neill attempted suicide by overdosing on Veronal (barbital) but was saved by a friend. In the subsequent years O’Neill experienced happy familiar relationships...

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