Analyze the title of the play Mourning Becomes Electra and explain how it becomes more ironic than defective.

The title of the play is based on the story of Electra in Greek legend. Electra is the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. They saved the life of Electra's younger brother, Orestes. In the play, the Mannons have experiences that mirror the legend.

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Mourning Becomes Electrais a play by Eugene O'Neill. It is a Greek tragedy in modern times, its title nodding to the original legend, Electra , the tragedy by Euripedes (there is another version by Sophocles, but historians are unsure which story is the original). In the original story,...

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Mourning Becomes Electra is a play by Eugene O'Neill. It is a Greek tragedy in modern times, its title nodding to the original legend, Electra, the tragedy by Euripedes (there is another version by Sophocles, but historians are unsure which story is the original). In the original story, Electra is the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. Clytemnestra has a lover, Aegisthus, and they murder Agamemnon. Fearing for her brother, Electra sends him away. When he returns, he and Electra avenge their father by murdering both Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.

The Mannon family in Mourning Becomes Electra mirror the original story of Electra in many ways. Lavinia represents Electra, Christine Mannon is Clytemnestra, Brant is Aegisthus, Ezra is Agamemnon, and Orin is Orestes. Christine murders her husband, Ezra, to be with Brant. Orin later kills Brant, Christine commits suicide, and then Orin does as well. Lavinia survives but is now lonely in the world, living in her empty mansion alone. In the original story of Electra, Electra similarly finds no peace; she feels somewhat guilty about helping her brother murder their mother and never comes to terms with her father's death.

On its face, Mourning Becomes Electra sounds bright and hopeful, at least until you realize that the first word is spelled "mourning," not "morning." But a more careful read indicates something darker. "Mourning" refers to the clothing people wear when they mourn the dead, and "becoming" refers to how fitting the mourning is for Electra, or in this case, Lavinia. The ways one hears the title spoken aloud is different from the way it's read.

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