Teacher Guide

Mourning Becomes Electra Lesson Plan

Introduction to Mourning Becomes Electra

Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra is a complex, tragic play split into three parts, and is widely considered his most epic work. Set in New England at the end of the Civil War, it was first published and staged in 1931. The play is based off Aeschylus’s Greek tragedy The Oresteia and its three sections—“Homecoming,” “The Hunted,” and “The Haunting”—mirror Aeschylus’s "Agamemnon," "The Libation Bearers," and "The Eumenides." The townspeople in O’Neill’s work take the role of the Greek chorus. To explain the play's name, O’Neill noted, “By the title Mourning Becomes Electra I sought to convey that mourning befits Electra; it becomes Electra to mourn; it is her fate; black is...

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