Essay on An Exploration By O ' Neill Of Greek Theatre

1231 Words Dec 10th, 2014 5 Pages
In classical Greek mythology, Phaedra is the daughter of King Minos of Crete and Pasiphaë, and is the wife of Theseus. Due to a divine plan set into motion by Aphrodite, Phaedra falls in love with Hippolytus, Theseus’ son from another marriage, bringing about the destruction of both individuals. These themes of incest, fate, and adultery are all present in Desire Under the Elms. This play can be shown to have been influenced greatly by classical representations of this myth.
Desire Under the Elms is an exploration by O’Neill of Greek theatre. Set in New England in 1850, this tragic play tells the story of the adulterous, and incestuous relationship between Abbie Putnam and Eben Cabot. Ephraim Cabot, a widower with three sons, abandons his farm for a period of time, leaving his sons in charge. The youngest son, Eben, feels that the farm is his birthright because it initially belonged to his mother. To ensure that there is no competition for the farm upon Ephraim death Eben buys his half-brothers’, Peter and Simeon, shares to the farm using money stolen from their father (kept hidden in the floorboards under the stove). With this money the brothers make their exits from the play in order to seek gold and riches in “Californi-a”. Shortly before the departure of the brothers, Ephraim returns home with a new wife, Abbie Putnam. Abbie is a young, headstrong woman who is described as “pretty but marred by […] sensuality” (O’Neill, 19).
From the start, Abbie has her sights set on…

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