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Minggu, 05 Agustus 2012

Mourning Becomes Electra Analysis


MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA
By: Eugene O’neill

1.      SUMMARY
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 her 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 Mannons. 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 explodes 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 Lavinia 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 hated 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 see 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 she 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 gives 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 guilty—not 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 disappointedly 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 embrace 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 Christine's feet and recounts his wonderful dreams about her and the South Sea Islands. The 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. Calculatingly 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 Islands. Fearing the hour, they painffully bid each other farewell. When Brant returns, Orin shoots him and ransacks the room to make it seem that Brant has been robbed.
The following night Christine paces the drive before the Mannon house. Orin and Lavinia appear, revealing that they killed Brant. Christine collapses. Orin knees beside her pleadingly, promising that he will make her happy, that they can leave Lavinia at home and go abroad together. Lavinia orders Orin into the house. He obeys.
Christine glares at her daughter with savage hatred and marches into the house. Lavinia determinedly turns her back on the house, standing like a sentinel. A shot is heard from Ezra's study. Lavinia stammers: "It is justice!"

The Haunted

A year later, Lavinia and Orin return from their trip East. Lavinia's body has lost its military stiffness and she resembles her mother perfectly. Orin has grown dreadfully thin and bears the statue-like attitude of his father.
In the sitting room, Orin grimly remarks that Lavinia's has stolen Christine's soul. Death has set her free to become her. Peter enters from the rear and gasps, thinking he has seen Christine's ghost. Lavinia approaches him eagerly. Orin jealously mocks his sister, accusing her of becoming a true romantic during their time in the Islands.
A month later, Orin works intently at a manuscript in the Mannon study. Lavinia knocks sharply at the locked door. With forced casualness, she asks Peter what he is doing. Orin insists that they must atone for Mother's death. As the last male Mannon, he has written a history of the family crimes, from Abe's onward. Lavinia is the most interesting criminal of all. She only became pretty like Mother on Brant's Islands, with the natives staring at her with desire.
When Orin accuses her of sleeping with one of them, she assumes Christine's taunting voice. Reacting like Ezra, Orin grasps his sister's throat, threatening her murder. He has taken Father's place and she Mother's.
A moment later, Hazel and Peter appear in the sitting room. Orin enters, insisting that he see Hazel alone. He gives her a sealed envelope, enjoining her to keep it safe from his sister. She should only open it if something happens to him or if Lavinia tries to marry Peter. Lavinia enters from the hall. Hazel moves to leave, trying to keep Orin's envelope hidden behind her back. Rushing to Orin, Lavinia beseeches him to make her surrender it. Orin complies.
Orin tells his sister she can never see Peter again. A "distorted look of desire" comes into his face. Lavinia stares at him in horror, saying, "For God's sake—! No! You're insane! You can't mean—!" Lavinia wishes his death. Startled, Orin realizes that his death would be another act of justice. Mother is speaking through Lavinia.
Peter appears in the doorway. Unnaturally casual, Orin remarks that he was about to go clean his pistol and exits. Lavinia throws herself into Peter's arms. A muffled shot is heard.
Three days later, Lavinia appears dressed in deep mourning. A resolute Hazel arrives and insists that Lavinia not marry Peter. The Mannon secrets will prevent their happiness. She already has told Peter of Orin's envelope.
Peter arrives, and the pair pledges their love anew. Started by the bitterness in his voice, Lavinia desperately flings herself into his arms crying, "Take me, Adam!" Horrified, Lavinia orders Peter home.
Lavinia cackles that she is bound to the Mannon dead. Since there is no one left to punish her, she must punish herself—she must entomb herself in the house with the ancestors.

2.      THE CHARACTERS AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS
  1. Lavinia Mannon: She is beautiful but she is not a feminine girl.  She is the Mannon's daughter. She is 23 years old, and looked elder than her age. Her body is not interesting, and she always wears uninteresting clothes too. She’s looked bossy and talkative.
  2. Christine Mannon: A striking woman of forty with a fine, voluptuous figure, flowing animal grace, and a mass of beautiful copper hair. She wears green, which symbolizes her envy. Her pale face is also a life-like mask, a mask that represents both her duplicity and her almost super-human efforts at repression. Having long abhorred her husband Ezra, Christine plots his murder with her lover Brant upon his return from the Civil War.
  3. Orin Mannon: The Mannon son returned from war. Orin bears a striking resemblance to his father and Captain Brant, though he appears as a weakened, refined, and oversensitive version of each. He possesses a boyish charm that invites the maternal favors of women. He loves his mother incestuously, flying into a jealous rage upon the discovery of her love affair that leads to Christine and Brant's deaths. Orin will then force he and his sister to judgment for their crimes in an attempt to rejoin his mother in death.
  4. Brigadier-General Ezra Mannon: The great Union general. Ezra is a spare, big-boned man of exact and wooden movements. His mannerisms suggest the statue-like poses of military heroes. His brusque and authoritative voice has a hollow and repressed quality. As his near- homophonic name suggests, he is Agamemnon's counterpart, the general returned from war to be murdered by his wife and her lover. He continues to exert his influence in symbolic form. His various images, and his portrait in particular, call his family to judgment from beyond the grave.
  5. Captain Adam Brant: A powerful, romantic sea captain. Brant has a swarthy complexion, sensual mouth, and long, coal-black hair. He also of course bares a striking resemblance to the other Mannon men, sharing their same, mask-like faces. The child of the illegitimate Mannon line, he returns to wreak vengeance on Ezra's household. He steals Ezra's wife, a woman he imagines in the image of his mother, and seduces Lavinia to conceal their affair.
  6. Hazel Niles: A longtime friend of the Mannon children. Hazel is a pretty, healthy, dark- haired girl of nineteen. O'Neill describes her character as frank, innocent, amiable, and good. She functions as Orin's would-be sweetheart, and both Christine and Lavinia attempting to pass Orin off onto her so they can flee with their suitors. Hazel also haplessly attempts to rescue Orin from his fate.
  7. Captain Peter Niles: An artillery captain for the Union. Peter resembles his sister in character. He is straightforward, guileless, and good-natured, failing to apprehend the machinations afoot in the Mannon house until the very end of the trilogy. He functions as the suitor Lavinia first rejects and later takes up as a substitute for Captain Brant.
  8. Seth Beckwith: The Mannons' aged gardener. Seth is stoop-shoulded and raw-boned but still strong. Like his employers, his gaunt face gives the impression of a life-like mask. In his time with the Mannons, he has learned most of the family's secrets and colluded in keeping them. A watchman figure of sorts, he is repeatedly seen wandering the grounds and singing the sea chanty "Shenandoah."
3.      THE SETTING (PLACE AND TIME)
  1. The place is at The Mannon house in New England, a harbor in East Boston.
  2. The time is in the summer, 1865–1866.
4.      THE MOST IMPRESSING PART AND THE REASON
The most impressing part in my opinion is the Oedipus that Brant felt. It is uncommon condition, and only some people meet this condition. And because of this condition, Mannon’s family damage and it cause the murder of Erza that has done by Christine and Brant.
5.      THE THEME
  1. Oedipus, it is tendency of the man who falls in love with a woman older than him, obsessed his mother character. Possibility since the man has little emotional closeness of a mother figure. The story showed this condition when Adam Brant fell in love to Christine Mannon and he is Christine’s lover, because Christine is Orin’s mother and she is elder than Brant.
b.      Revenge, it serves as a primary motivation for the play's actions. Seeking to revenge the death of his mother, Marie Brantome, Adam hopes to destroy the Mannon family, especially Ezra. The Mannon family is a complex web of revenge scenarios: Christine wants revenge on her husband for her unhappy marriage; Lavinia wants revenge on her mother for killing her father; Orin wants revenge on Brant for sleeping with his mother.
  1. The Rival and Double, Orin became her mother’s rival because her mother has been sleeping with her husband, Brant, and because her mother also fell in love with Brant. In this condition Brant is double.
6.      THE MORAL VELUES
  • Do not hurt our family.
  • We should keep a good relation with our family.
  • We should be patient when we face a problem.
  • Do not be easy to vengeance to someone who hurt us.
  • Do not betrayed our family.
7.      COMMENT
The story of this drama has a good lesson for us in our life. It shows us some problem in a family. And I thing the author want we to do not do what Mannon’s family did. And if we face the same problem, first we should be patient and we should try anything to solve the problem but in good solution.

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