In Desire Under the Elms, is Eben more like his mother or father?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would argue that in spite of the way in which Eben is shown to hate and loathe his father for, in his opinion, stealing the farm from his mother and exploiting her, Eben actually resembles his father more in terms of his personality than he does his mother. Note hte way in which Eben shares the same stubborn resilience and implacability as his father through the way in which he opposes him and seeks to organise resistance to his father with his brothers. In the same way, the fact that Eben and his father have relations with Minnie, the local prostitute, clearly indicate the way in which they share a similar idea about sexuality.

Just as Ephraim is shown to be a bitter man who is consumed with his idea of holding on to the farm and the power that he has, Eben shows himself to be mastered by his desire to gain the farm and revenge on his father. Although they are both in conflict with each other, the conflict curiously reveals their similarities rather than their differences.

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Desire Under the Elms

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