Comment on the significance of the Elms
Question: Comment on the significance of the Elms in the play “Desire Under the Elms”.
“Desire Under the Elms” (1924) is a modern tragedy written by Eugene O’Neill (1888 – 1953). The title of the play is significant. The Elms are used symbolically here.
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The dominance of female characters
There are two huge elms trees beside the farm. They are comparable to exhausted women resting their sagging breasts and hands and hair on its roof. They represent Cabot’s two dead wives.
The green hue of the elms stands for fertility which is denied in the house since the death of Eben’s mother.
Symbol of nature
Abbie tells Eben that nature will beat him. Abbie’s seduction is clearly a retributive act. In this sense, nature beats him. When Abbie depicts the sexual desire for the growth of elm trees, she draws attention to them as symbols of nature.
To sum up, it is undoubtedly said that the elm trees are used symbols of nature, fertility and dominance of female characters.