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Mourning Becomes Electra Essay | Critical Essay #2

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Critical Essay #2

In the following essay, Maufort argues that O 'Neill used Melville's Pierre as a source, and that together O 'Neill and Melville show a criticism of Puritan American family relationships.

O'Neill's dramatization of family relationships in Long Day's Journey Into Night, his culminating masterpiece, is admittedly autobiographical. Moreover, disguised portraits of the O'Neills abound throughout the entire canon, a feature which critics have repeatedly underlined. Mourning Becomes Electra undoubtedly represents a notable exception to that pattern. In this drama, O'Neill resorts to various artistic models to depict the conflicts besieging the house of the Mannons. Besides obvious references to Aeschylus and Shakespeare, there exists a more obscure literary allusion in Mourning Becomes Electra: muted reminders of Herman Melville's neglected novel, Pierre, or the Ambiguities, that have hitherto largely escaped critical attention.

At first glance, to assert that O'Neill may have been indebted to Melville in the composition of...

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This section contains 2,787 words
(approx. 10 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Mourning Becomes Electra Study Guide
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Mourning Becomes 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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