Desire Under the Elms, Eugene O’Neill’s 1924 play, is the story of a farming family in mid-1800s New England. Inspired by the play Hippolytus by Euripides, it tells of the warring personalities of a father and son, and how their mutual dislike is brought to a head by the powerful presence of the father’s new wife. The play paints a melancholy portrait of rural life in the 19th century and explores people's desire for connection with each other and their deep relationship with the landscape around them.  


Read our full plot summary and analysis of Desire Under the Elms, scene-by-scenebreak-downs, and more.  


See a complete list of the characters in Desire Under the Elms and in-depth analyses of Ephraim, Eben, and Abbie.


Here's where you'll find analysis of the literary devices in Desire Under the Elms, including major themes, motifs, and symbols.


Find the quotes you need to support your essay, or refresh your memory of Desire Under the Elms by reading these key quotes.