How do Eben and Abbie become tragic figure

How do Eben and Abbie become tragic figure

Question: How do Eben and Abbie become tragic figure at the end of the play?


“Desire Under the Elms” (1924) is a modern tragedy written by Eugene O’Neill (1888 – 1953). At the end of the play, Eben and Abbie become a tragic figure. Let us discuss it.

Click here: for all notes of Drama


When Cabot gets married to Abbie, Eben takes her negatively. He thinks that She has come to occupy the farmhouse. He hates her from this negative attitude. Negativity will be proved from these dialogues:

“Abbie: You are Eben, are you? My name is Abbie.  I am your new mother.

Eben: No, damn you.”

Eben says her this in a most hostile tone.

From hatred to passion

In Part 2 Scene 3, we get the description of their kissing scene. Suddenly, Abbie has come to his room and kisses him. At first, he does not want to kiss her but ultimately, he also helps her with a passionate kiss. Thus, they have come from hatred to passion.

Open forbidden love

They are step-mother- son. But there is no care about it. They are loving each other like a lover and beloved. After the kissing part, she invites him into the parlor for their passionate desire. Then very soon she says that:

“Abbie: I shall expect you to follow me and come to me.”

Eben goes to the parlor to meet her and having sex with her. They produce a son. Thus, they fulfill their forbidden passionate love.

Stubborn love between them

Eben threatens to leave her when he comes to know all the property will go to Abbie and her son. Abbie’s passion turns into true love at that time. She kills her son to prove his original love for him. Then Eben can understand that he also is responsible for murdering the son as he expresses his wish. At last, they share their punishment by going to prison.


To sum up, we can say that they become a tragic figure by proving their true love for each other.

Click here: for all notes of Desire Under the Elms

Ruhul Huda
Ruhul Huda

You can call me Mr. Huda. I am a researcher and doing this work for years. I like to learn everywhere. So, feel free to share your experience with me.

Articles: 158

Leave a Reply

error: Sorry !!