Desire Under the Elms


The following descriptions are taken from the text of the play.

  • Eben – He is twenty-five, tall and sinewy. His face is well-formed, good-looking, but its expression is resentful and defensive. His defiant, dark eyes remind one of a wild animal's in captivity. Each day is a cage in which he finds himself trapped but inwardly unsubdued. There is a fierce, repressed vitality about him. He has black hair, mustache, a thin, curly trace of beard. He is dressed in rough farm clothes.
  • Simeon and Peter – [They are] tall men, much older than their half-brother [Simeon is thirty-nine and Peter thirty-seven], built on a squarer, simpler model, fleshier in body, more bovine and homelier in face, shrewder and more practical. Their shoulders stoop a bit from years of farm work. They clump heavily along in their clumsy thick-soled boots caked with earth. Their clothes, their faces, hands, bare arms and throats are earth-stained. They smell of dirt.
  • Ephraim Cabot – [He] is seventy-five, tall and gaunt, with great, wiry, concentrated power, but stoop-shouldered from toil. His face is as hard as if it were hewn out of a boulder, yet there is a weakness in it, a petty pride in its own narrow strength. His eyes are small, close together, and extremely near-sighted, blinking continually in the effort to focus on objects, their stare having a straining, ingrowing quality. He is dressed in his dismal black Sunday suit.
  • Abbie Putnam – [She] is thirty-five, buxom, full of vitality. Her round face is pretty but marred by its rather gross sensuality. There are strength and obstinacy in her jaw, a hard determination in her eyes, and about her whole personality, the same unsettled, untamed, desperate quality so apparent in Eben.
  • Young Girl
  • Two Farmers
  • The Fiddler
  • A Sheriff

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