Mourning Become Electra in Urdu by Eugene O'Neill | Themes - Summary - Characters - Analysis

Mourning Become Electra in Urdu by Eugene O'Neill | Themes - Summary - Characters - Analysis

Mourning Becomes Electra is a Continuation of Greek Tradition / Myth 

Tradition: Tradition means a way of thinking, behaving or doing something that has been used by the people, in a particular group, family, society etc for a long time. 

Objectives behind the adaptation of Greek Tradition:
  • He considers Greek Theatre as the best.
  • He wants to restore the Greek Theatre.
  • In Modern Time period comedy & farce form is famous.
  • Inspiration from Eliot & Nietzsche.
  • He wished to follow Sigmund Freud to use mythology through human psyche.
  • He wanted to get rid from the role of fate and uses human psychology.
  • Use of choral in the form of Seth.
  • Unity of Place & Action but not the time.
  • Catharsis brought on by fear & pity.
  •  He wants to reinvigorate the American Theatre through Greek Tragedy. 
Modern American Play: Mourning Becomes Electra

Trilogy: A series of three novels, movies, dramas etc that are closely related and involve the same characters or themes.

Published in: 1931 by O’Neil

Books Combined:
1. Homecomings (4 Acts)
2. The Hunted (5 Acts)
3. The Haunted (4 Acts)

Greek Time Period Works:
Greek Trilogy: Play Name: “Oresteia” House of Atreus
Set by: Homer, Pindar, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, etc
Greek Time Period: 458 BC
Compiled in Three Books: 1) Agamemnon 2) The Libation Bearers 3) Eumenides

Other works Examples:
Sophocles 3 Books: 1) Antigone 2) Oedipus the King 3) Oedipus at Colonus
Euripides 3 Books: 1) The Cyclops 2) Hecuba 3) Alcestis

Comparison of Characters Modern American Drama vs. Greek Drama 

Mourning Becomes Electra
“Oresteia” House of Atreus
Ezra Menon Agamemnon
Christine Clytemnestra
Lavinia Electra
Orin Orestes
Captain Adam Brant Aegisthus ( Father Thyestes > Kill by > Atreus > wife > Aerope)
Cap. Peter Niles Pylades
American Civil War Trojan War

In Mourning Becomes Electra Both Exists:
  • Electra Complex ( Children attraction towards father)
  • Oedipus Complex ( Children attraction towards mother)

According to Greek Tradition Greek Tragedy has:
  1. Tragic Hero
  2. Tragic Flaw 
  3. Catastrophe
  4. Chorus
  5. Fate
1. Tragic Hero in Mourning Becomes Electra: 

A tragic hero is the protagonist of a tragedy in dramas. Aristotle defines a tragic hero as “a person who must evoke a sense of pity and fear in the audience. He is considered a man of misfortune that comes to him through error of judgment.” A tragic hero’s downfall evokes feelings of pity and fear among the audience. 

2. Tragic Flaw: 

Tragic Flaw is literary device used to show downfall of person from high rank due to an error in judgment. In the play there is a downfall of protagonist Lavinia, she suffers due to Electra complex. She hates her mother while loves his father. She also loves Adam Brant because he looks like his father. Lavinia love for her father become reason to hate mother. So Electra Complex is the cause of her tragedy. In the same way we see tragic flaw in each character; Orin love for mother, then sister so here also Oedipus complex exists. 

3. Catastrophe: 

We all know that a Tragedy always ends with catastrophe. Catastrophe is the destruction of everything, even leads to deaths. In catastrophe if hero does not die the he / she suffers a lot. In Mourning Becomes Electra there is death of many characters & protagonist, Lavinia suffers a lot. She decides to remain alone, there is no punish for Lavinia. 

4. Chorus: 

In the ancient Greek theater, the chorus was a rowdy bunch. They were the peanut gallery that sang, danced, and made comments about the action on stage. They also gave you key information about stuff happening off stage—like battles and sea voyages. 

In the play, Seth Beckwith plays the role of chorus by commenting & asking questions. He mostly passes very valuable comments. 

5. Fate: 

Greek thinks that everything is prewritten by the god & goddesses, life & everything but O’Neil does not believe on fate. He gives the Sigmund Freud Theory that, human himself becomes the cause of other human beings & destruction. According to him there is a no role of fate. 


In Greek time period, every man go against the authority (god) then he face the consequences, but here in Modern Period, human go against the human, like relationship with mother, sister, father, & conspiracies etc so he faces the consequences. In the same way, Menon family is challenging the authority & nature.

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