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Plot Overview---- Eugene ONeill: Mourning Becomes Electra

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 ust !ome, li"e her mother #hristine, from a trip to $ew %or". &eth, the gardener, ta"es the anguished girl aside. 'e needs to warn her against her would-(e (eau, #aptain Brant. Before &eth !an !ontinue, however, Lavinia's suitor )eter and his sister 'azel, arrive. Lavinia stiffens. If )eter is proposing to her again, he must realize that she !annot marr* an*one (e!ause +ather needs her. Lavinia as"s &eth to resume his stor*. &eth as"s if she has not noti!ed that Brant loo"s ust li"e her all the other male Mannons. 'e (elieves that Brant is the !hild of ,avid Mannon and Marie Brant-me, a #anu!" nurse, a !ouple e.pelled from the house for fear of pu(li! disgra!e. &uddenl* Brant himself enters from the drive. #al!ulatingl* Lavinia derides the memor* of Brant's mother. Brant e.plodes and reveals his heritage. Lavinia's grandfather loved his mother and ealousl* !ast his (rother out of the famil*. Brant has sworn vengean!e. / moment later, Lavinia appears inside her father's stud*. #hristine enters indignantl*, wondering wh* Lavinia has summoned her. Lavinia reveals that she followed her to $ew %or" and saw her "issing Brant. #hristine defiantl* tells Lavinia that she has long hated Ezra and that Lavinia was (orn of her disgust. &he loves her (rother 0rin (e!ause he alwa*s seemed hers alone. Lavinia !oldl* e.plains that she intends to "eep her mother's se!ret for Ezra's sa"e. #hristine must onl* promise to never see Brant again. Laughingl* #hristine a!!uses her daughter of wanting Brant herself. Lavinia has alwa*s s!hemed to steal her pla!e. #hristine agrees to Lavinia's terms. Later she proposes to Brant that the* poison Ezra and attri(ute his death to his heart trou(le. 0ne wee" later, Lavinia stands stiffl* at the top of the front stairs with #hristine. &uddenl* Ezra enters and stops stiffl* (efore his house. Lavinia rushes forward and em(ra!es him. 0n!e she and Ezra alone, #hristine assures her that he has nothing to suspe!t with regards to Brant. Ezra impulsivel* "isses her hand. The war has made him realize that the* must over!ome the wall (etween them. #al!ulatingl* #hristine assures him that all is well. The* "iss. Toward da*(rea" in Ezra's (edroom, #hristine slips out from the (ed. Mannon's (itterl* re(u"es her. 'e "nows the house is not his and that #hristine awaits his death to (e free. #hristine deli(eratel* taunts that she has indeed (e!ome Brant's mistress. Mannon rises in fur*, threatening her murder, and then falls (a!" in agon*, (egging for his medi!ine. #hristine retrieves a (o. from her room and gives him the poison. Mannon realizes her trea!her* and !alls Lavinia for help. Lavinia rushes to her father. 1ith his d*ing effort, Ezra indi!ts his wife2 3&he's guilt*4not medi!ine53 he gasps and then dies. 'er strength gone, #hristine !ollapses in a faint. The Hunted )eter, Lavinia, and 0rin arrive at the house. 0rin disappointedl* !omplains of #hristine's a(sen!e. 'e ealousl* as"s Lavinia a(out what she wrote him regarding Brant. Lavinia warns him against (elieving #hristine's lies.

&uddenl* #hristine hurries out, reproa!hing )eter for leaving 0rin alone. Mother and son em(ra!e u(ilantl*. &uspi!iousl* 0rin as"s #hristine a(out Brant. #hristine e.plains that Lavinia has gone mad and (egun to a!!use her of the impossi(le. 0rin sits at #hristine's feet and re!ounts his wonderful dreams a(out her and the &outh &ea Islands. The Islands represented all the war was not2 pea!e, warmth, and se!urit*, or #hristina herself. Lavinia reappears and !oldl* !alls 0rin to see their father's (od*. In the stud*, 0rin tells Lavinia that #hristine has alread* warned him of her madness. #al!ulatingl* Lavinia insists that 0rin !ertainl* !annot let their mother's paramour es!ape. &he proposes that the* wat!h #hristine until she goes to meet Brant herself. 0rin agrees. The night after Ezra's funeral, Brant's !lipper ship appears at a wharf in East Boston. #hristine meets Brant on the de!", and the* retire to the !a(in to spea" in private. Lavinia and an enraged 0rin listen from the de!". The lovers de!ide to flee east and see" out their Blessed Islands. +earing the hour, the* painffull* (id ea!h other farewell. 1hen Brant returns, 0rin shoots him and ransa!"s the room to ma"e it seem that Brant has (een ro((ed. The following night #hristine pa!es the drive (efore the Mannon house. 0rin and Lavinia appear, revealing that the* "illed Brant. #hristine !ollapses. 0rin "nees (eside her pleadingl*, promising that he will ma"e her happ*, that the* !an leave Lavinia at home and go a(road together. Lavinia orders 0rin into the house. 'e o(e*s. #hristine glares at her daughter with savage hatred and mar!hes into the house. Lavinia determinedl* turns her (a!" on the house, standing li"e a sentinel. / shot is heard from Ezra's stud*. Lavinia stammers2 3It is usti!e53 The Haunted / *ear later, Lavinia and 0rin return from their trip East. Lavinia's (od* has lost its militar* stiffness and she resem(les her mother perfe!tl*. 0rin has grown dreadfull* thin and (ears the statue-li"e attitude of his father. In the sitting room, 0rin griml* remar"s that Lavinia's has stolen #hristine's soul. ,eath has set her free to (e!ome her. )eter enters from the rear and gasps, thin"ing he has seen #hristine's ghost. Lavinia approa!hes him eagerl*. 0rin ealousl* mo!"s his sister, a!!using her of (e!oming a true romanti! during their time in the Islands. / month later, 0rin wor"s intentl* at a manus!ript in the Mannon stud*. Lavinia "no!"s sharpl* at the lo!"ed door. 1ith for!ed !asualness, she as"s )eter what he is doing. 0rin insists that the* must atone for Mother's death. /s the last male Mannon, he has written a histor* of the famil* !rimes, from /(e's onward. Lavinia is the most interesting !riminal of all. &he onl* (e!ame prett* li"e Mother on Brant's Islands, with the natives staring at her with desire. 1hen 0rin a!!uses her of sleeping with one of them, she assumes #hristine's taunting voi!e. 6ea!ting li"e Ezra, 0rin grasps his sister's throat, threatening her murder. 'e has ta"en +ather's pla!e and she Mother's. / moment later, 'azel and )eter appear in the sitting room. 0rin enters, insisting that he see 'azel alone. 'e gives her a sealed envelope, en oining her to "eep it safe from his sister. &he should onl* open it if something happens to him or if Lavinia tries to marr* )eter. Lavinia enters from the hall. 'azel moves to leave, tr*ing to "eep 0rin's envelope hidden (ehind her (a!". 6ushing to 0rin, Lavinia (esee!hes him to ma"e her surrender it. 0rin !omplies.

0rin tells his sister she !an never see )eter again. / 3distorted loo" of desire3 !omes into his fa!e. Lavinia stares at him in horror, sa*ing, 3+or God's sa"e45 $o5 %ou're insane5 %ou !an't mean453 Lavinia wishes his death. &tartled, 0rin realizes that his death would (e another a!t of usti!e. Mother is spea"ing through Lavinia. )eter appears in the doorwa*. 7nnaturall* !asual, 0rin remar"s that he was a(out to go !lean his pistol and e.its. Lavinia throws herself into )eter's arms. / muffled shot is heard. Three da*s later, Lavinia appears dressed in deep mourning. / resolute 'azel arrives and insists that Lavinia not marr* )eter. The Mannon se!rets will prevent their happiness. &he alread* has told )eter of 0rin's envelope. )eter arrives, and the pair pledges their love anew. &tarted (* the (itterness in his voi!e, Lavinia desperatel* flings herself into his arms !r*ing, 3Ta"e me, /dam53 'orrified, Lavinia orders )eter home. Lavinia !a!"les that she is (ound to the Mannon dead. &in!e there is no one left to punish her, she must punish herself4she must entom( herself in the house with the an!estors.