Desire Under the Elms Paper

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Alexis Gedallovich 02/28/11 Acting 2
Desire Under the Elms by Eugene O’neill
Desire Under the Elms is a play written by Eugene O’neill that I very much enjoyed. It is a play full of lust, desire, and vengeance. At the beginning of the play we are introduced to Eben and his two older brothers, Peter and Simeon. Throughout the first scene it seemed to me as if Eben was the older brother because even though he has a young boyish quality to him he seemed to be in control of his brothers in a way. All the brothers feel bitterness towards their father at this point because he has abandoned them to seek out a new wife and left them to work the farm, but Eben has other motives. Eben feels bitterness and resentment towards his father because he believes he stole the farm from his mother and had worked her to the death. This, to me, put Eben in a completely separate state of mind from his brothers. Eben, although young and naïve was very strong willed and did a lot in order to get his way even though the play ended in tragedy. He sold his brothers away from the farm as well as bore a son with his father’s new wife behind his back.

I think O’neill wanted to make it seem that Eben was young and innocent on the surface, but really he was tough and vengeful on the inside. I like how O’neil set up this irony. His father was always complaining how soft he was like his mother, yet he was plotting against his father the entire time. I also really enjoyed the secretive and lustful relationship between Eben and Abbie. At first I saw Abbie as a very strong and conniving woman, but at the end of the play this view sort of changed for me as Eben started to take control of her. At the start of the play, Abbie seduces Eben and wins him over with her advances. She ingrains it in his head that she loves him like his maw. She claims that she is replacing her and that his maw’s farm is her farm...
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