Desire under the elms – Summary


DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS is a play by the American dramatist Eugene O’Neill, produced and published in 1924. The play’s setting is a New England farm in 1850. The principal characters are Ephraim Cabot, a farmer; his three sons, Simeon, Peter, and Eben; and his young third wife, Abbie Putnam.
Ephraim struggles to keep his place as absolute owner and undisputed master. The two older sons seek escape from his domination by departing for California. Eben, born of his father’s second wife, wishes to avenge the mistreatment that hastened his mother’s death and to secure possession of the farm that originally was hers. The new wife also schemes to inherit the property through her illegitimate child by Eben, whom she seduced. The drama culminates in Abbie’s strangling the child and the imprisonment of Eben and Abbie, leaving a lonely and embittered Ephraim in undisputed possession of the land.

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