Synopsis by Craig Butler
A Touch of the Poet is the only completed play in Eugene O'Neill's planned 11-part "American History" cycle. Set in a rundown tavern in 1820s Boston, Poet focuses on the relationships between tavern owner Cornelius Melody, his wife Nora, and daughter Sara. Born into wealth in the old country, Cornelius has fallen on hard times, a consequence of a disgrace he suffered while serving in the Peninsular Wars. He took his family to start over in America but lost his fortune buying a secluded inn that attracts few customers. He maintains his haughty airs, however, and constantly abuses his loving, hard-working wife, which only makes Sara more scornful of her father's inability to face reality. For her part, Sara is in love with Simon, a wealthy American who has taken ill. When Simon's father arrives on the scene, he takes a quick measure of the kind of man Cornelius is and forbids Simon and Sara from marrying. Greatly offended, Cornelius swears to avenge this insult, but the result of his efforts are far different than what he intended. This production originally aired as part of PBS's Theatre in America series.
forbidden-love, innkeeper, parent/child-relationship, poet, starting-over, tavern