Mourning Becomes Electra

by: Eugene O'Neill

Symbols

Though Mourning is rife with symbolism, the symbol that dominates the playing space is certainly the Mannon house. The house is built in the style of a Greek temple, with white columned portico covering its gray walls. As Christine complaints in Act I of "Homecoming," the house is the Mannons' "whited sepulcher." It functions not only as crypt to the family's dead but also to its secrets. Its founder, Abe Mannon, designs it as a monument of repression, building it to cover over the disgrace that sets this revenge cycle in motion. What symbolizes this repression in turn is the house's distinguishing feature, the "incongruous white mask" of a portico hiding its ugliness. This mask doubles those of its residents, evoking the "life-like masks" the Mannons wear as their faces.