Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra is a trilogy of full-length plays, reworking themes from Greek tragedy, particularly The Oresteia of Aeschylus, relocated to New England in 1865, just after the end of the American Civil War.
Lavinia Mannon (Electra) dotes on her father Ezra (Agamemnon), who has just returned victorious from the war, and despises her mother Christine (Clytemnestra) – especially since Catherine has been making a cuckold of Ezra with Lavinia’s ex-suitor, Adam. Lavinia’s brother Orin (Orestes), on the other hand, war-wounded and weak, idolises his mother and resents his overbearing father. When Christine and her lover poison Ezra, Lavinia convinces her brother that they must avenge their father’s death. But they have spent years soaking in family conflicts and curses of generations past, and fate will be sated…
Mourning Becomes Electra was premiered on Broadway at the Guild Theatre in October 1931.
This edition of the play includes a full introduction, biographical sketch and chronology.