Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O’Neill

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Discuss "Mourning Becomes Electra" as a modern tragedy. How is this drama is different from a Greek tragedy?

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Gracie O'Hara eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Mourning Becomes Electra takes many of its plot elements from the Oresteia by Aeschylus, including the mother of the family taking a lover while the father is at war, killing her husband, and in turn being killed (directly or indirectly) by her children. Despite these plot elements, O'Neill's play is distinctly modern. It is a psychological drama rather than a classical one.

First, although the characters are from a wealthy family, they are not royalty and thus the play is about individual people rather than the broader civic implications of the original trilogy. It is a psychological drama focused on human feelings and motivations and lacks Aeschylus's concern with the gods and fate....

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