full title Mourning Becomes Electra
author Eugene O'Neill
type of work Drama
genre Tragedy/Psychological Drama
time and place written Written largely in France, from 1926–1931
date of first publication 1931
publisher Random House, Inc.
point of view Not applicable
tense The play unfolds in the time of the present
setting (time) Spring or Summer, 1865–1866
setting (place) The Mannon house in New England; a harbor in East Boston
protagonists Lavinia Mannon, Orin Mannon, Christine Mannon, Ezra Mannon
major conflict Brigadier-General Ezra Mannon has returned from the Civil War. His duplicitous wife Christine and her lover, Adam Brant, plot his murder. Mannon's daughter, Lavinia, and son, Orin, discover their mother's treachery and destroy the two lovers in turn. They must then suffer the vengeance of the dead.
rising action In "Homecoming," rising action consists of the confrontation between Ezra and Christine. In "The Hunted," it consists of the revelation of Brant's murder to Christine. In "The Haunted," it consists of Orin's incestuous proposition to Lavinia.
climax In "Homecoming," Ezra's murder functions as climax and closes the play. In "The Hunted," Christine's suicide does the same. In "The Haunted," Orin's figures as climax.
falling action Breaks follow the first two climaxes leading into the townsfolk scenes that open the subsequent plays. A brief interlude with Seth follows the break after Orin's suicide.
themes Oedipus, Fate, Repetition, and Substitution, The Rival and Double, the Law of the Father
motifs The Blessed Islands, The Native
symbols The Mannon house
foreshadowing The foreshadowing in Mourning is oppressive and omnipresent. For example, Ezra's apprehension of his imminent death, and Christine's fear that she will soon lose Brant forever