40 pages 1 hour read

Eugene O'Neill

Beyond the Horizon

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1920

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Important Quotes

Quotation Mark Icon

“Supposing I was to tell you that it’s just Beauty that’s calling me, the beauty of the far off and unknown, the mystery and spell of the East which lures me in the books I’ve read, the need of the freedom of great wide spaces, the joy of wandering on and on—in quest of the secret, which is hidden over there, beyond the horizon?”

(Act I, Scene 1, Page 129)

Rob explains his reason for wanting to leave as like a spell. The personification of “Beauty” likens his deep desire for travel to being entranced by a beautiful woman—which ironically is what ultimately prevents him from leaving. Rob has no real knowledge of the East or the reality of living a life constantly on the move, but after a childhood spent confined indoors, he longs for total physical and mental freedom. The secret that Rob speaks of is never directly defined, but it’s some notion about what his life should mean, and it remains just out of reach throughout the play.

Quotation Mark Icon

“Other times my eyes would follow this road, winding off into the distance, toward the hills, as if it, too, was searching for the sea. And I’d promise myself that when I grew up and was strong, I’d follow that road, and it and I would find the sea together”

(Act I, Scene 1, Pages 132-133)

Rob tells Ruth about he longed to follow the road to the sea as a sicky child. The road itself holds significance as a symbol of life that everyone must walk along. The sea, in contrast to the land, represents change and the unknown. Part of Rob’s unhappiness later in the play is caused by the fact he was never able to fulfil the promise that he made to himself as a little boy. He metaphorically walks a different path or road that is unsuitable.