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Mourning Becomes Electra

Eugene O'Neill

"The Haunted": Act I, Scene One

"The Hunted": Act V

"The Haunted": Act I, Scene One, page 2

page 1 of 2

A year later, it is a clear summer day in front of the Mannon house. The shutters are closed and the front door boarded up. Lavinia and Orin are abroad in China. Seth, Amos, and three old townsmen—Abner, Silva, and Mackel—are carousing about. They appear grotesquely as if they are boys out on a forbidden prank.

Seth bets Small ten dollars and a gallon of liquor that he cannot stay alone in the Mannon house until moonlight. Rumors say that the house is haunted. Seth guides Small inside. Mackel notes that if the town were not at the Mannons' feet, "queer doin's" would have come out regarding the recent deaths.

Hazel and Peter arrive, announcing Lavinia and Orin's imminent return. Suddenly Small bursts out of the house, screaming that he saw Ezra's ghost in judge's robes coming out of the wall. The men roar with laughter and walk off. Peter and Hazel rebuke Seth for his prank. Seth replies that he only staged it to dispel the rumors circulating in town about the house being haunted. He himself, however, feels there is something rotten in the house's walls. He urges them to not let Lavinia and Orin take up residence there again. They begin to ready the house for the Mannons' return.

A strikingly different Lavinia appears on the drive. Her body has filled out and lost its military stiffness; she resembles her mother perfectly, even wearing the same green dress. Lavinia turns and coaxingly calls Orin as if he were a child. Orin has grown dreadfully thin and bears the statue-like attitude and mask-like face of his father. He has grown a beard that accentuates this resemblance.

In a mothering voice, Lavinia urges Orin to be brave before this test and face the house. There are no ghosts. As she leads him up the steps, Orin stammering points out the last place he saw Christine alive. Lavinia declares all that finished: the dead have forgotten them, and they the dead. They go inside.


"The Haunted" begins once again before the Mannon house with another chorus of townsfolk serving as backdrop to the major players. Here the chorus, a group of drunken, grotesquely boyish old men, prepares the way for the dead's second "homecoming." Though this scene about ghosts is played for comic relief, Seth quickly admits that there may be something rotten in the house's walls. As the title of the third installment suggests, the Mannon house, with its shutters boarded up and its furniture covered, has decidedly become a haunted one, the ancestors waiting to exact their vengeance.

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Incorrect Reference undr Themes and Motifs

by robertehiggins, April 14, 2015

In Mourning Becomes Electra you write: "Oedipus was the Theban king who unwittingly killed his father and MURDERED his mother." [Emphasis mine].

It should read: "Oedipus...MARRIED his mother!"

(Oedipus' mother Jocasta did commit suicide after learning her lover was her son. Oedipus however did NOT "murder" her.)

Haunted act 2

by you-know-who007, May 12, 2015

In the first paragraph, it's ORIN not Peter who is writing a manuscript.

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