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Mourning Becomes Electra

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  3,853 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
A three-part reworking of themes from Greek tragedy, the plays are set in New England in 1865, just after the Civil War. A returning victor, General Ezra Mannon (Agamemnon), is poisoned by his unfaithful wife Christine (Clytemnestra) and then avenged by his son Orin (Orestes) and daughter (Lavinia). With Orin's subsequent suicide, Lavinia (the Electra of the title) becomes ...more
Paperback, 162 pages
Published May 1st 1992 by Nick Hern Books (first published January 1st 1931)
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Bettie☯
Jan 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Laura, Carey, Casnewydd Hydra - all BBC listeners
To find Karen suggest I look for the film...



Description: A three-part reworking of themes from Greek tragedy, the plays are set in New England in 1865, just after the Civil War. A returning victor, General Ezra Mannon (Agamemnon), is poisoned by his unfaithful wife Christine (Clytemnestra) and then avenged by his son Orin (Orestes) and daughter (Lavinia). With Orin's subsequent suicide, Lavinia (the Electra of the title) becomes a fatalistic recluse in the Mannon mansion. The author was four tim
...more
Dave
Sep 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
This was my first O'Neill experience. Crazy. This cycle of plays reminds me of how interconnected (in sometimes freaky ways) are the ideas of life, death, love, hate, societal standards, and taboos. All of these concepts play a sort of round robin tournament as life combines with death, love, hate, standards, and morals everything connects with everything else. It's certainly not always a pleasant combination, but one worth contemplating. I would love to see this staged, especially to see the ar ...more
Mel
I did enjoy this. Beatrix Lehmann played the role of Lavinia in the 1938 London production and it was considered one of her best roles. I really love Greek drama and this was a retelling which actually worked quite well. The setting just after the American civil was seemed to mirror that of the Greek quite well. The rich eccentric family and their "odd" ways could easily fit in. I'm not sure all the incest really worked as well in the 19th century setting though. Still despite that it was a very ...more
Leslie
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is one of the classic plays that you hear about, but I hadn't read. We selected plays for our latest "Reading Around the Library" and I decided to read this one. This is a three part drama, essentially three plays that make up one larger work. My undergraduate class in Greek drama provided a good base for much of the meaning of the drama. One word kept popping into my head whenever I finished reading a section -- fraught. It was rife with tension, madness, incestuous leanings, adultery, dea ...more
Helga
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: play, classics
This is a modern retelling of the Greek tragedy "Oresteia" by Aeschylus
Sitara Kashif
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
O'Neil has re-told the story from Greek myth 'curse on the house of Atreus', and modernized it according to our times , Lavinia is Electra, Orestes is Orin, Ezra Manon is Agamemnon , Christine is Clytemnestra. he has skipped the part dealing with Helen an Paris and has replaced it by creating another forbidden love of Abe Manon and the nurse who gave birth to Adam Brant and Adam Brant is Augustus from the old Oresteia by Aeschylus.
in this play all the Mannons are caught in more or less the same
...more
Joe
May 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
I read this one mostly out of historical interest. I'm reasonably fond of theatre and must admit to being puzzled by this play's reputation. To me it was extremely ham-handed. Anything that wasn't taken from the Oresteia was taken straight from Freud. I know Freudian theories of personality were more accepted when the play was written, but to me the relationships of the Mannon family were laughably two-dimensional.
Tom
Aug 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
According to the college professor who assigned this, when translated into Norwegian, the title became "Getting Electricity in the Morning." :)
Rao Javed
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
3.5

I found this play struggling to create a point, which maybe it was able to but i feel the point we not that valid anyhow; something was missing.

The text level of this play was easy to read and easy to understand, though there was a deep lack of philosophical values in the flow and at times too over dramatic.

The concept was good but i also find it quite abominable as it went at great length to impure a pure relationship which i feel is very grotesque.

The story had a good flow, but not a very
...more
Romee Darling
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Simply brilliant.
Vlady Peters
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Just recently, quite by accident, I came across a short story by Scott Fitzgerald. I recognised it as a story on which the film, ‘The Last Time I saw Paris’ was based. Based very loosely, I might add. Fitzgerald himself worked on the screenplay and happy with the result.

Desperate for money he sold it to a producer, who in his turn sold it to a movie company, and subsequently rewritten as to almost obliterate the original story. One reviewer of the film is recorded as saying:

‘’(the person) who d
...more
Aida Ghazar
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best plays of O'Neill!Inspired by Greek Mythology ,the play takes place in the Mannon residence.General Ezra Manon the head of the family, returns from battlefield only ironically,facing death at home,in the hands of his wife,Christine. Christine feels great hatred towards him, which leads her to poison him, for her to be free to live with her lover,and then we witness the consequences. Lavinia their daughter had not seen any love from her mother since she was a child,and hates and de ...more
Adam Nelson
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Quite the downer of a tragedy. It takes place shortly after the end of the Civil War, but this play (or trilogy of plays, rather) is distinctly 20th century. O'Neill was actually born in 1888, two decades after the end of the war, so he doesn't seem to be trying to capture something distinct about that era, nor does he pretend as if he is. In fact, we see in the tragedy of the Mannon family, which takes place very much at their own hands--more specifically the hands of Vinnie and Christine--some ...more
منن نصار
"لا تبكي يا لافينيا فالملعونون لا يبكون"

نادرا ما اشعر بعدم القدرة على وصف شيء .. تلك المسرحية هي الجنون بعينه، كم ما تحمله من مشاعر كفيل بأن يطغي عليك أياما .. لكن للأسف إنها من النوع غير المحبذ مثل الغيرة والحقد والكره والألم والندم والجنون
وبرغم ذلك لم أملك إلا أن أقع بحبها وتؤثر في

"إن الحب محرم علي. إن الموتى أقوياء .. أقوياء جدا."

كانت قوية بالفعل أباً عن جداً عن أم! هي شبيهة بهم بشكل قد يكون مثيرا لقوانين الوراثة ذاتها ..
كانت إلكترا؟ لا أظن لم أشعر بأن حب الأب هو ما دفعها لذلك بقدر ما هو ا
...more
Brian
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
exciting play. i went on a weekend trip to ireland, and read one play in about an hour in between destinations. o'neill does a fantastic job building suspense in each act and at the end of each play. you'll be excited to see where the characters end up at the end of the play. i can't say that it was too shocking, as o'neill gives clear juxtapositions between characters and you aren't surprised to see where they ultimately end up. but then again, i feel that that is inevitable when you can read a ...more
Jim Leckband
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Finally a masterpiece! I've been reading the Library of America's collection of O'Neill plays and have been intrigued by the growth of the artist through one-acts and weird experiments, but hardly any play worked all the way through until this one.

The structure is based on the Oedipus/Electra myths but for once O'Neill does not overtly force the symbolism and lets the Orin/Lavinia characters stand as there own beings, rather than stand-ins. There are Greek play nods, such as a little chorus here
...more
Swankivy
Apr 26, 2009 rated it liked it
A family with Oedipus and Electra complexes abounding is doomed to repeat the recurring love/hate relationships which were the foundation of their family. Each attempts to get from family the kind of love they should get from lovers, and as a result none can build on a healthy foundation that a family connection should afford them. The cycle of the family is a predictable recurring dysfunction that the characters nevertheless seem powerless to stop. In a way, each character becomes his ancestor ...more
Cati
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This really is a masterpiece. While it may sadden your heart out, it is wonderfully written and prone to so many wonderful readings. A reworking of the classical Greek tragedy of Electra, set in America after the Civil War, it is a dream raw material for any theater director. i've seen many good renderings and I believe any actor who pulled off one of the roles in this can be credited with true talent :)
Caroline
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this when I was in high school and that is a very long time ago. Still I consider this one of those books that did change something profoundly in my knowledge about drama, literature, theater & greek mythes. A classic with a modern twist that can be dark and creepy at times. I am tempted to say that I do consider this a must read for anyone who loves Greek mythology.
Linda
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
The concept of this masterpiece is something that happens, but people do not like to think about it. The writing is excellent, but it takes the human soul to dark places. That is typical of the author. Incest is not a pleasant thought, but this work has other disturbing characters and subjects. The minds of the players turn on a dime!
Paulina
Nov 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
My first O'Neill experience. Wow. The man is so cinematographical - it's one of the most detailed plays I've encountered, he has every expression and every detail in mind.
I'm a sucker for recurring family tragedies. and the Greeks.
Saludos for this play. I'd really like to see it on stage one day.
Cara
Feb 26, 2009 marked it as to-read
I know I read this in college but I think it deserves a re-read.
Stella Chereti
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Μετάφραση Δέσπω Διαμαντίδου!
Τα υπόλοιπα απλώς !!!!!
J. Alfred
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
An unpleasant, interesting American version of the great unpleasant Greek Orestiad. It's a trilogy, like the original (do people play all of it at once, I wonder? It'd take forever!)
Insofar as Freud's followers allow us to talk about the 'Electra complex,' O'Neill decides to make every character intensely sexually attracted to every other character he or she happens to be related to. Sure, whatever. Also everyone wears masks, even when they don't. Art.

The old servants are singing near
A place up
...more
Montcrieff
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In Mourning Becomes Electra, a trilogy (Homecoming, The Hunted, The Haunted), loosely based on Aeschylus' Orestia, O'Neill dramatizes his conviction that the Greek concept of fate could be replaced by the modern notion of psychological determination. The Mannons are driven to their self-destructive behavior by inner needs and compulsions that they can neither understand nor control.
Daniel
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Perhaps better on the stage, but reading it reminds one of how ham-fisted a writer O'Neill was.
Florina
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
really makes you appreciate your relatively sane family.
Mina Soare
May 22, 2015 rated it liked it
A colorul adaptaion of Aeschylus' Oresteia, this tragic trilogy offers a more complex perspective, interspersed with themes of war, hate, Oedipus complex and family relationships. It is a charming little collection, if unfinished. The mix of blatant and subtle is cacophonous in its lack of middle ground; on the background of every relationship being loud and flashy, themes like nostalgia, murder and justice and war seem almost like and afterthought.

There is the delightful issue "Electra" as the
...more
Tom
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-drama
What a tinderbox this play is! Based on the tragic 'Orestia' trilogy from Aeschylus, 'Mourning Becomes Electra' takes every opportunity to revel in the high drama provided by its source material. And it's just as well—taken all together the three parts could easily last five hours in performance.

Ezra Mannon, analogous to Agamemnon, is returning from the Civil War, analogous to Troy. His wife Christine, long fallen out of love with the distant military man, plans to kill him and take on a young l
...more
Cameron Gordon
Oct 26, 2015 rated it liked it
When a master writes, even his misfires are instructive and packing a punch. I have read the greater part of O'Neill's work and seen some of his work staged. This is a famous work, not one of his lesser ones in that sense, but it does not entirely work as a literary work (though I have to say, I can imagine it might play well on the stage). The dialogue is good and the writing strong. The characters are, overall, rather limited, though vivid. They exist to play out the mythology that O'Neill is ...more
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Eugene Gladstone O'Neill was an American playwright who won the 1936 Nobel Prize in Literature "for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy." More than any other dramatist, O'Neill introduced American drama to the dramatic realism pioneered by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and Swedish playwr ...more
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