Plot Overview

The Homecoming
It is late spring afternoon in front of the Mannon house. The master of the house, Brigadier -General Ezra Mannon, is soon to return from war.

Lavinia, Ezra's severe daughter, has just come, like h er mother Christine, from a trip to New York. Seth, the gardener, takes the anguished girl aside. He needs to warn her against her would-be beau, Captain Brant. Before Seth can continue, however, Lavinia's suitor Peter and his sister Hazel, arrive. Lavinia stiffens. If Peter is proposing to her again, he must realize that she cannot marry anyone because Father needs her. Lavinia asks Seth to resume his story. Seth asks if she has not noticed that Brant looks just like her all the other male Man nons. He believes that Brant is the child of David Mannon and Marie Brantôme, a Canuck nurse, a couple expelled from the house for fear of public disgrace. Suddenly Brant himself enters from the drive. Calculatingly Lavinia derides the memory of Brant's mother. Brant e xplodes and reveals his heritage. Lavinia's grandfather loved his mother and jealously cast his brother out of the family. Brant has sworn vengeance. A moment later, Lavinia appears inside her father's study. Christine enters indignantly, wondering why Lav inia has summoned her. Lavinia reveals that she followed her to New York and saw her kissing Brant. Christine defiantly tells Lavinia that she has long hate d Ezra and that Lavinia was born of her disgust. She loves her brother Orin because he always seemed hers alone. Lavinia coldly explains that she intends to keep her mother's secret for Ezra's sake. Christine must only promise to never se e Brant again. Laughingly Christine accuses her daughter of wanting Brant herself. Lavinia has always schemed to steal her place. Christine agrees to Lavinia's terms. Later she proposes to Brant that they poison Ezra and attribute his death to his heart trouble.

One week later, Lavinia stands stiffly at the top of the front stairs with Christine. Suddenly Ezra enters and stops stiffly before his house. Lavinia rushes forward and embraces him. Once she and Ezra alone, Christine assures her that he has nothing to suspect with regards to Brant. Ezra impulsively kisses her hand. The war has made him realize that they must overcome the wall between them. Calculatingly Christine assures him that all is well. They kiss. Toward daybreak in Ezra's bedroom, Christine slips out from the bed. Mannon's bitterly rebukes her. He knows the house is not his and that Christine awaits his death to be free. Christine deliberately taunts that s he has indeed become Brant's mistress. Mannon rises in fury, threatening her murder, and then falls back in agony, begging for his medicine. Christine retrieves a box from her room and g ives him the poison. Mannon realizes her treachery and calls Lavinia for help. Lavinia rushes to her father. With his dying effort, Ezra indicts his wife: "She's guilty²not medicine!" he gasps and then dies. Her strength gone, Christine collapses in a faint.

The Hunted
Peter, Lavinia, and Orin arrive at the house. Orin disap pointedly complains of Christine's absence. He jealously asks Lavinia about what she wrote him regarding Brant. Lavinia warns him against believing Christine's lies. Suddenly Christine hurries out, reproaching Peter for leaving Orin alone. Mother and son e mbrace jubilantly. Suspiciously Orin asks Christine about Brant. Christine explains that Lavinia has gone mad and begun to accuse her of the impossible. Orin sits at C hristine's feet and recounts his wonderful dreams about her and the South Sea Islands. Th e Islands represented all the war was not: peace, warmth, and security, or Christina herself. Lavinia reappears and coldly calls Orin to see their father's body. In the study, Orin tells Lavinia that Christine has already warned him of her madness. Calcula tingly Lavinia insists that Orin certainly cannot let their mother's paramour escape. She proposes that they watch Christine until she goes to meet Brant herself. Orin agrees. The night after Ezra's funeral, Brant's clipper ship appears at a wharf in East Boston. Christine meets Brant on the deck, and they retire to the cabin to speak in private. Lavinia and an enraged Orin listen from the deck. The lovers decide to flee east and seek out their Blessed

insisting that he see Haze l alone. She should only open it if something happens to him or if Lavinia tr ies to marry Peter. Adam!" Horrified. Read an in-depth analysis of Lavinia Mannon. He obeys. He gives her a sealed envelope. Orin works intently at a manuscript in the Mannon study. h e has written a history of the family crimes. with the natives staring at her with desire. Started by the bitterness in his voice. revealing that they killed Br ant. "Take me. from Abe's onward. Her pale face is also a life -like mask. and the pair pledges their love anew. Lavinia appears dressed in deep mourning. Orin insists that they must atone for Mother's death. "For God's sake²! No! You're insane! You can't mean²!" Lavinia wishes his death. Since there is no one left to punish her. enjoining her to keep it safe from his sister. flowing animal grace.A striking woman of forty with a f ine. she must punish herself ²she must entomb herself in the house with the ancestors. Death has se t her free to become her. Lavinia is the most interesting criminal of all. and a mass of beautiful copper hair. She shares her mother Christine's lustrous copper hair and mask -like face. A month later. Christine Mannon . standing like a sentinel. Lavinia enters from the hall. Orin tells his sister she can never see Peter again. Orin and Lavinia appear. He has taken Father's place and she Mother's. A muffled shot is heard. Lavinia desperately flings herse lf into his arms crying. Startled. Lavinia determinedly turns her back on the house.The Mannon's daughter. Lavinia stammers: "It is justice!" The Haunted A year later. Character List Lavinia Mannon . Hazel and Peter appear in the sitting room. In the sitting room. threatening her murder. Orin grasps his sister's throat. Lavinia cackles that she is bound to the Mannon dead. Lavinia's body has lost its military stiffness and she resembles her mother perfectly. The severe Lavinia considers herself robbed of love at her mother's hands. Orin enters.Islands. accusing her of becoming a true romantic during their time in the Islands. Lavinia stares at him in horror. Orin realizes that his death would be another act of justice. The following night Christine paces the drive before the Mannon house. Peter enters from the rear and gasps. A moment later. Three days later. Reacting like Ezra. Orin remarks that he w as about to go clean his pistol and exits. they painffully bid each oth er farewell. a mask that represents both her duplicity and her . As the last male Mannon. Lavinia is wooden. saying. She already has told Peter of Orin's envelope. voluptuous figure. A resolute Hazel arrives and insists that Lavinia not marry Peter . Orin has grown dreadfully thin and bears the statue -like attitude of his father. Orin knees beside her pleadingly. She ultimately does so upon her mother's death. When Brant returns. Lavinia beseeches him to make her surrender it. She wears green.chested. Peter arrives. Lavinia knocks sharply at the locked door. Hazel moves to leave. A shot is heard from Ezra's study. Lavinia and Orin return from their trip East. flat. reincarnating her in her own flesh. Thus she schemes to take Christine's place and become the wife of her father and mother of her brother. promising that he will make her happy. thinking he has seen Christine's ghost. Christine glares at her daughter with savage hatred and marches int o the house. Orin jealously mocks his sister. Orin shoots him and ransacks the room to make it seem that Brant has been robbed. she as sumes Christine's taunting voice. Christine collapses. which symbolizes her envy. Orin grimly remarks that Lavinia's has stolen Christine's soul. Rushing to Orin. Orin complies. With forced casualness. Unnaturally casual. L avinia orders Peter home. Lavinia orders Orin into the house. The Mannon secrets will prevent their happiness. that they can leave Lavinia at home and go abroad together. she asks Peter what he is doing. Lavinia throws herself into Peter's arms. A "distorted look of desire" comes into his face. Peter appears in the doorway. Mother is speaking through Lavinia. angular and dressed in simple black. When Orin accuses her of sleeping with one of them. Lavinia approaches him eagerly. trying to keep Orin's envelo pe hidden behind her back. thin. stiff-shouldered daughter. She only became pretty like Mother on Brant's Islands. Fearing the hour.

flying into a jealous rage upon the discovery of her love affair that leads to Chris tine and Brant's deaths. His mannerisms suggest the statue -like poses of military heroes. he is Agamemnon's counterpart. buckteeth. . He possesses a boyish charm that invites the maternal favors of women. Christine plots his murder with her lover Brant upon his return from the Civil War. he possesses a romantic. She functions as Orin's would -be sweetheart. He is straightforward. He steals Ezra's wife. Louisa is similarly a gossip though much more maliciously. cackling farmer who helps goad Small into the house. self-important. Peter resembles his sister in character. with a horse face. coal -black hair. big-boned man of exact and wooden movements. and good natured. and stubbornly opinionated. The Chantyman .The Mannons' aged gardener. and ingratiating in his demeanor. and oversensitive version of each. Seth is stoop-shoulded and raw-boned but still strong. guileless. Brant has a swarthy complexion. Louisa Ames . goat-bearded clerk of the town hardware store who breaks into the Mannon house on a wager. unctuous. Hills . Minnie .A drunk. wizened man of sixty. Her manner is defensively sharp and assertive. his gaunt face gives the impression of a life-like mask. Read an in-depth analysis of Orin Mannon. Everett Hills. mask -like faces.An artillery captain for the Union. sensual mouth. Brigadier-General Ezra Mannon . Though dissipated. he has learned most of the family's secrets and colluded in keeping them. Seth Beckwith . Hazel is a pretty.The Mannon son returned from war. healthy. a woman he imagines in the image of his mother. Captain Adam Brant . Captain Peter Niles . Ira Mackel . He also of course bares a striking resemblance to the other Mannon men. and good. Dr.Amos's wife.D. Critic Travis Bogard considers his cameo appearance in "The Hunted" as O'Neill's farewell to the seaman heroes of his earlier plays. He loves his mother incestuously. A watchman figure of sorts. failing to apprehend the machinations afoot in the Mannon house until the very end of the trilogy.The well-fed minister of a prosperous small town: snobbish. O'Neill describes her character as frank.Louisa's meek middle-aged cousin and most eager listener. As his near. he is repeatedly seen wandering the grounds and singing the sea chanty "Shenandoah. .A sallow. refined. call his fam ily to judgment from beyond the grave. Mrs. though he appears as a weakened.Josiah's wife. Orin will then force he and his sister to judgment for their crimes in an attempt to rejoin his mother in death. His various images. dark . and both Christine and Lavinia attempting to pass Orin off onto her so they can flee with their suitors.almost super-human efforts at repression. Ames is a typical and relatively benign town gossip-monger. His brusque and authoritative voice has a hollow and repressed quality. The child of the illegitimate Mannon line. weather-beaten man of sixty-five. troubadour -of-the-sea air. Emma Borden . Hazel also haplessly attempts to rescue Orin from his fate. He continues to exert his influence in symbolic form. Orin Mannon . In his time with the Mannons.A fat carpenter in his fifties. and big teeth.The Mannon's kindly family physician. D.A sly. he returns to wreak vengeance on Ezra 's household.A longtime friend of the Mannon children. He functions as t he suitor Lavinia first rejects and later takes up as a substitute for Captain Brant. Ezra is a spare. sharing their same. Like his employers. Joseph Blake . and his portrait in particular. and long. and self-effacing minister's wife." Amos Ames . Josiah Borden . Read an in-depth analysis of Christine Mannon.haired girl of nineteen. Abner Small .A small.homophonic name suggests.The shrill. Orin bears a striking resemblance to his father and Captain Brant. Emma is a typical New England woman of pure English ancestry.The great Union general. the general returned from war to be m urdered by his wife and her lover. flabby. romantic sea captain. innocent. Hazel Niles . Having long abhorred her husband Ezra.A powerful. and seduces Lavinia to conceal their affair. Borden is the shrewd manager of the Mannon shipping company. stout. amiable.

She does so upon her mother's death. Orin bears a striking resemblance to the other Mannon men though he appears as a weakened. Lavinia appears as her mother double from the outset of the play. and angular daughter. Christine Mannon Christine is a striking woman of forty with a fine. Sh e loves incestuously.A fat. She is ga rbed in the black of mourning. Christine not only taking her father but her would -be lover as well. the monument of repression erected by her ancestors to conceal their disgraces.like mask. reincarnating her in her own f lesh. As her characteristic green dress suggests. Lavinia appears as the keeper of the family crypt and all its secrets. a mark of her identification with her father. It makes sense that Lavinia must go among the natives to fully assume her figure. violet eyes. rediscovering Orin in a substitute. Lavinia's repressive stiffness and mask-like countenance mirrors that of the house. These doubles are his rivals within the Mother -Son love affair that structures the trilogy. She will urge Orin in particular to forget the dead. and mask -like face. Like her double. Before the threat of her oncoming age. Analysis of Major Characters Lavinia Mannon Lavinia is Ezra's wooden. Thus she schemes to take Christine's place and become the wife of her father and mother of her brother. as their sentry. Christine is consumed wit h envy. flowing animal grace. Brant's mother Marie. She envies Brant's Island women. she envies Hazel for her youth. flat-chested. she must secu re her love affair with Brant at all costs. hating them for their sexual pleasures. Having long abhorred her husband Ezra. and a mass of beautiful copper h air. boisterous Portuguese fishing captain who also helps goad Small into the house. Ezra Mannon . ye arning for pre-Oedipal plentitude. Christine is her rival. This grace makes her exotic. repudiating her husband and clinging to her son as tha t which is all her own. that is. Despite the desperate veneer of kindness. and oversensitive version of each. This pre-Oedipal paradise appears primarily in two fantasies: that of the secret world he shares with Christine in childhood and the Blessed Island he imagines as a haven from the war. Ultimately this manor becomes her tomb. stiff-shouldered. Lavinia comes to femininity and sexuality. Peter substituting as Brant. Lavinia traces a classical Oedipal trajectory. and keep the histo ry of the family's past from coming to light. grace that codes for her sexual excess. yearns to become the mother and bear a child by her father that would redeem her lack. in which the daughter. aligning her with the recurring figures of the island native. sharing the same lustrous copper hair. or even of another race. imagining her as a figure for wha t she once was. Lavinia considers herself robbed of all love at her mother's hands. thin. Christine moves with an animal -like grace. He loves his mother incestuously. Lavinia condemning herself to li ve with the Mannon dead until she and all their secrets with her die.Joe Silva . Orin is the boyish counterpart to Aeschylus's Orestes. refin ed. In doing so. the mythic moment prior to the intervention of the father into the mother -son dyad. a mask that represents both her duplicity and her almost super -human efforts at repression. Her militaristic bearing. Thus he flies into a jealous rage upon the discovery of her love affair that lead s to Christine and Brant's deaths. Orin fig ures as this child as well as the husband she would leave to be with her son. horrified by her castration. Orin will then force he and his sister to judgment for their crimes in an attempt to rejoin his mother in death. Christine plots his murder with her lover Brant upon his return from the Civil War. with Orin competing with Ezra and Brant for Christine's desire. As the stage notes indicate. to use Chr istine's terms. voluptuous figure. figuring as an agent of repression throughout the play. symbolizes her role as a functionary of the Mannon clan or. Her pale face is also a life. She repeats this incestuous relation in her affair with Brant. compulsively insist upon the justice of their crimes. Despite her loyalties to the Mannon line. Orin Mannon The Mannon son returned from war.

Ezra will continuously appear in his symbolic capacities.establish his incestuous bond with his mother. Both before and after his death. for example. Lavinia will constantly invoke his name and voice. that woul d make good on her castration. ruined husband. By prohibiting incest and instituting the proper relations of desire within the household. the mother. the Father becomes a figure of the law. to Christine. Orin yearns to re . His mannerisms. he is far more the figure for the law in this form than as a broken. the myth that actually structures the play's action is overwhelming that of Oedipus. Motifs. In contrast. The Oedipal drama in its many permutations determines the course of the trilogy. We first encounter Ezra prior to his homecoming in the for mer of the ominous portrait hanging in his study. neither she nor her mother have a penis. The boy child only moves from the mother upon the thre at of castration posed by his rival. and the women pose them as their sons . and Symbols Themes Oedipus Although O'Neill supposedly derived Mourning Becomes Electra from theOresteia. it begins it for the girl. a desire possibly surmounted in the course of the child's development or else subject to repression. and betrayals. Repetition. as if some romantic Byronic ideal. coal -black hair. As we will see. throughout the trilogy. Adam Brant Brant is a powerful. he returns to wreak vengeance on Ezra's household. Fate. Oedipus was the Theban king who unwittingly killed his father and murdered his mother. At the center of this complex in what Freud defined as its positive form is the child's incestuous desire for the parent of the opposite sex. the boy fears that the father would cut his penis off if he continues to cling to the mother who rightfully belongs to her husband. suggest the unyielding statue-like poses of military heroes. The Fathers of the play. as throughout the trilogy. he is Agamemnon's counterpart. Ezra's var ious images will call his family to judgment from beyond the grave. for examp le. romantic sea captain. the male Mannons in some way or another take their female love objects as Mother substitutes. the Oedipal drama. murders. Lavinia. Themes. Both begin with a primary love object.As his homophonic name suggests. Christine will hear herself condemned by his corpse. He dresses. and Substitution As Travis Bogard notes." entirely her own. Though titled after Electra. Famously Freud elaborated this myth into his Oedipus complex. Put bluntly. To her dismay. in almost foppish extravagance with touches of studied carelessness. the boy would then abandon his mother as a love object and identify himself with his father. sensual mouth. this "lost island" where Mother and Son can be together. After his death. the players will remark upon a strange agency driving them into their illicit love affair s. the girl abandons the mother upon realizing both the mother's castration and her own. the father. is but a substitute for her precious son. Christine clings to Orin as that the "flesh and blood. yearns to replace Christine a s wife to her father and mother to her brother. Ezra and otherwise. The child of the illegitimate Mannon line. Brant. Here. what is primarily being mourned here is the loss of this love relation. where he would finally assume the Mannon name. Its development is starkly differentiated for boys and girls. She then turns to the father in hopes of bearing a child by him that would substitute for her missing penis. Ezra's authority rests primarily in his symbolic form. bitter. He steals Ezra's wife and seduces Lavinia to conceal their affair. . But the war. the great general returned from war to be murdered by his wif e and her lover. In surmounting his Oedipal desir es. Brant also of course bares a striking resemblance to the other Mannon men. Indeed. the predominant pair of lovers in Mourning is the Mother-Son. Ezra is dressed in his judge's robes and appears as a symbol of the law. Accordingly. Thus. and long. bringing ruin to the land. he imagines himself as a statue of a great man standing in a square. figure as the rival who would break this bond of love. He does so as yet another son incestuously enthralled with Mother and her substitutes. the structure through which children are conventional ly introduced into the social order and normative sexual relations. He has swarthy complexion. in turn. forces him from their pre -Oedipal embrace in the first place. O'Neill wrote Mourning to convince modern audiences of the persistence of Fate. whereas castration ends the Oedipus complex for the boy. What O'Neill terms fate is the repetition of a mythic structure of desire across the generations. In other words. the girl would become a mother in her mother's place.

With the death of his person. designs it as a monument of repression. and his father. Note how Ezra. yearns to become the mother and bear a child by her father that would redeem her lack. the portrait in which he wears his judge's robes." It functions not only as crypt to the family's dead but also to its secrets. Orin's nightmare of his murders in the fog allegorizes this struggle. This mask doubles those of its residents. The native assumes these proportions when imagined as rivals. Generally the native appears through two divergent images: the sexual innocent and the sexually depraved. in the players' imaginations. As Christine complaints in Act I of "Homeco ming. dancing naked on the beach and loving without sin. for example. Ezra's symbolic form includes his name. The house is built in the style of a Greek temple. the rivals appear as doubles of each other as well. The men's rivalries are murderousl y infantile. The Civil War. Lavinia considers Christine the wife and mother she should be. by natives. for example. a monument in the town square. and secure paradise composed of the mother's body. The Law of the Father In the Oedipal myth. Orin at once figures as this child as well as the husband she would leave to be with her son. The Natives The Blessed Islands are also populated. serves as figure for this paternal law." A sanctuary from the war. evoking the "life -like masks" the Mannons wear as their faces. rather than any of their deaths. building it to cover over the disgrace that sets this revenge cycle in motion. in fearing that he has become numb to himself. which entwine their fantasies of sex with those of race. stripping his sister with their lascivious gazes. Ezra." the house is the Mannons' "whited sepulcher. Thus. the Island is a warm. for example. Symbols Though Mourning is rife with symbolism. he exercises the law with all the more force. what tears the son away from his incestuous embrace with the mother is the imposition of the father's la w. Ezra's death makes the importance of his symbolic function even more apparent. and his ventriloquist voice. Abe Mannon. However. muses that he has become the statue of a great man. the natives display an almost bestial sexual prowess. The players continually become substitutes for these two figures. his symbolic form a lmost usurps his person. This island is the perfect home for a prelapsarian love affair. The Double/the Rival The various substitutions among the players as structured by the Oedipal drama make the players each other's doubles. Mourning's principal father. Thus.As Orin will remark to Lavinia in "The Haunted. Orin goes to war to do his duty as a Mannon. operating according to a jealous logic of "either you go or I go. Orin repeatedly killing the same man. Its fo under. the Blessed Island is the realm of the pre -Oedipal. Motifs The Blessed Islands The fantasy of the Blessed Island recurs among the major players as the lost Mother -Son dyad disrupted by the Oedipal drama. generally remembered as a war between brothers. the prowess and pleasure they would ostensibl y provide the lover becoming objects of envy. the player who believes himself dispossessed convinced that his double stands in his proper place. though more in his symbolic form than in his own person. Lavinia will recall the islands as the home of timeless children. a substitution made most explicit in Lavinia and Orin's reincarnation as Christine and Ezra. haunting the living in his various symbolic forms. Thus Orin can imagine himself with Christine without her b eing there. To take another example." Because in these rivalries the other appears as that which stands in the self's rightful place withi n the Oedipal triangle. the symbol that dominates the playing space is certainly the Mannon house. . Orin offers the most exten sive vision of the Blessed Island to Christine in Act II of "The Hunted. Indeed. Christine will cringe before his po rtrait. is the trilogy's principal object of mourning. in which the d aughter. producing yet another rival. however. The double is also the rival. Thus. horrified by her castration. In this particular case. the "incongruous white mask" of a portico hiding it s ugliness. with white columned portico covering its gray walls. What symbolizes this repression in turn is the house's distinguishing feature. It. Lavinia traces the classical Oedipal trajectory. comes to symbolize this struggle. the time of plentitude and wholeness shared by mother and child. himself. peaceful. This compulsive series of murders demonstrates the impossibility of the lover ever acceding to his "rightful place" within the Oedipal triangle²Mother will always want another." the Mannons have no choice but to assume the roles of Mother -Son that organize their family history. Lavinia will invoke his voice and name to command Orin to attention. For Orin. Mourning's male players universally vie for the desire of Mother. In terms of the trilogy's sexual drama.

Ezra's is far more the figure for the law in his symbolic form than in his person ²the person of a broken. How does he do so? What does he demand of those under his influence? Answer for Study Question 3 >> We first encounter Mannon in the figure of the ominous portrait hanging in his study. Ezra calls the living to judgment for their crimes. the land the lovers imagined as their Eden -like haven. the "exit of the chantyman is the last g limpse O'Neill was to give his audiences of the protected children of the sea. His mannerisms suggest the unyielding statue -like poses of military heroes. boys. What is their relation to the play's fantasies of gender? Answer for Study Question 2 >> Living out the last hopes of Brant and Christine. Here. For the fiendish Orin. Lavinia emphasizes the Islands' innocence.STUDY QUESTIONS : Discuss the role of the Chantyman in Act IV of "The Hunted. hang They say I hanged my mother/ Oh hang. Both their fantasies revolve around the figure of the native. These crimes include the play ers' illicit. among their simple. Lest the Chantyman appear merely "colorful" or a means of providing o ne of Mourning's few moments of comic relief." Answer for Study Question 1 >> O'Neill considered Act IV of "The Hunted" as the "center of t he whole work. Its lyrics oppressively fo reshadow the death to come: "They says I hangs for money/ Oh. hang. While in transit. but in a more melancholic or nostalgic mode. and se t design." The Chantyman is also a prophetic figure. As Bogard notes. we should consider the scene within the context of O'Neill's oeuvre. In contrast. note her account of the chaste kiss with Avahanni in Act IV. Here. and marginal to the tragedy. incestuous loves. dancing nude with their beautiful men under the palm trees. good and bad forms. splitting of the native into its hyper -idealized and degraded. NotablyMourning maps these fantasies onto those of gender. Orin and Lavinia flee East upon the former pair's death. speaking portentously of Lincoln and Mannon's deaths and lugubriously disappearing into the night with the dirge "Hanging Johnny" on his lips. and the acts of murder incurred in bitter and violent rivalries. ruined husband. There. As he tells Peter. The Chantyman sings a cho rus of "Shenandoah. For example. he imagines himself as a statue of a great man standing in a square. and brags of his ability to bring a crew into working order with his singing. costume. boys. He rescues his sister in fear that they can provide her with what he cannot. as throughout the trilogy. The portrait is the clearest example. Ezra assumes this symbolic capacity in life and perhaps at the expense of his person. He laments the coming of steam to ships and the death of the old days. docile people. Act IV returns to the mood and manner of O'Neill's early sea plays. she came to love and beauty anew. with the same exacting detail in setting. Ezra will appear most authoritatively in his symbolic capacity. Indeed. hang!" Compare and contrast Orin and Lavinia's fantasies of the native. a month longer on the Islands an d Lavinia would have become a veritable pagan. O'Neill's former protagonist appears old." This act moves the audience from its principal locale of the Mannon house to an East Boston harbor of the Chantyman. bitter. Lavinia's natives appear almost free of sexuality altogether. Consider the ways Ezra Mannon makes his presence felt in the absence of his person. These projective fantasies are decidedly narcissistic. The drunke n Chantyman appears as a figure of his erstwhile poet -heroes. a man who. Ezra. Before and after his death. To a g reat extent. forgetting all the death behind her. their betrayals. dressed in his judge's robes. useless. however. consorting with the native means Lavinia's sexual and racial degradation. . appears as a symbol of the law. the troubadour-of-the sea. as a result has become numb to his own heart. To Christine. the image of the pure or lascivious native fitting easily with that of the woman as virgin or whore." drunkenly laments the thef t of his cash. Orin quivers with jealousy at the specter of the native's sexual prowess. Both Orin and Lavinia cast the Blessed Islands as the setting of Lavinia's metamorphosis into the Mother though imagine this metamorphosis in almost diametrically opposite ways. they stop for a month at Brant's legendary South Sea Islands.

What is the significance of the Blessed Islands? Compare and contrast the ways in which at least two different characters ima gine them. costume." Consider not only its lyrics. Lavinia will constantly invoke his name and voice and with it the weight of his authority. How does O'Neill produce relationships of doubling." and the incongruous mask.Ultimately Ezra will come to exert his influence most powerfully in the total absence of his person. for example. Discuss the role of Fate in the trilogy. Christine will hear herself condemned by his corpse. What is the relationship between doubling and rivalry? What is the significance of Seth's recurring sea chanty. his vari ous images will relentlessly haunt and condemn his family from beyond the grave . Discuss O'Neill's use of the double. Upon his death. and correspondence between persons and things. recurring motifs in dialogue. the "whited sepulcher. Discuss O'Neill's use of the Civil War as backdrop for the trilogy. for example. Make sure to consider its primary metaphors ²for example. "Shenandoah. Suggested Essay Topics Discuss the role of the Mannon house. but also the logic of its appari tion in the play. How does the war figure within the Mannon fam ily drama? What is the function of gossip in the trilogy? Discuss in particular the function of the various choruses of townsfolk. When does Fate appear to make itself felt? Why? . and onward. Consider. Thus.

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