Mourning Becomes Electra Essay

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In the following essay, Werner contends that the theme of the islands in ONeill's play represents the recovery of the paradise of the original bond between mother and son.

In the plays of Eugene O'Neill, the breaking of the bond between a son and a mother is a common pattern, figuring an original fall from innocence. Just as O'Neill's biography can be read as a series of unsuccessful attempts to re-establish in adulthood the kind of exclusive attachment with a woman that would replicate and replace the broken filial-maternal bond, his plays can be seen as a series of imaginative struggles with the same need. In O'Neill's vision, maternal abandonment is the original sin, and life is a series of necessary, but futile, attempts of men always to try to remake in some way the original closed pairing of mother and child. This theme, dealt with explicitly in...

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This section contains 3,614 words
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