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Electra Essay & Criticism

This Study Guide consists of approximately 87 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Electra.
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Critical Overview

The initial production of Electra, which premiered on October 30, 1903, in Berlin, was von Hofmannsthal's first major theatrical success. Within four days, three editions of the book were sold out, and twenty-two German theaters expressed an interest in producing the play.

Critics were divided, however. Von Hofmannsthal wrote in a letter to his brother-in-law that some were enthusiastic, others hostile. Those who passed negative judgments thought that the play did not measure up to the dignified calm that they believed was part of the ancient Greek spirit. They argued that the modernization of Sophocles' play to incorporate psychological theories had made Electra into a savage character. In addition, Electra's relationship with her sister was condemned because of its erotic, lesbian overtones.

Other critics thought that the modernization was legitimate, given the popularity and importance of Freud's psychological theories. These critics tended to focus on the concept of "hysteria," as...

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This section contains 426 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Electra Study Guide
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Electra from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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