Electra Criticism

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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
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Buy the Electra Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Electra from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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