The Emperor Jones
Backstage Theater at College of Southern Nevada
Comments by Actor / Writer Roy C Peterson
O'neill's basic theme has been used in many movies since he wrote the play. A greedy man from the outside modern world with a little advanced technology in the form of a gadget or two ruling and exploiting people of a primitive culture by making them think he is much more than he really is. A very tenuous and suspenseful situation to be in.
Jones should have left the island the minute he knew the natives had become aware of his non viability as a leader. He assumed that just because they would believe the superstition that he could be killed only by silver bullets that they would also lack the resourcefulness and will to get silver bullets and kill him. He was very foolish in this. I was surprised by the ending because I thought that Jones would first die of heart failure because of the way the islanders were scaring him.