The theme of loneliness in Desire Under the Elms
Question: Discuss the theme of loneliness in “Desire Under the Elms”.
“Desire Under the Elms” (1924) is a modern tragedy written by Eugene O’Neill (1888 – 1953). Loneliness is a striking theme in the play. Let us discuss the theme.
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After scanning the play, we find that Cabot is lonely throughout the play. He had slept with Minnie, the local prostitute for the sake of removing lonesome. Then he got married one after another. He is the owner of three wives in the play. But nobody can understand him. In Part 2 Scene 2, he says that:
“There I can talk to the cows. They understand me.”
This line proves his loneliness. He remains lonesome at the end of the play.
Simeon and Peter’s lonesome
At the beginning of the play, Simeon and Peter discuss their hard situation on the farm. They want freedom from the range of their father. Simeon reminds his wife, Jenny. So, they also feel lonely.
From the beginning of the play, Eben feels lonely because his mother is dead and he does not like his father. His two brothers have gone to California. He always feels isolated thinking that his father has stolen the farm from his mother.
Abbie had a child and husband before getting married to Cabot. she was an orphan at an early age. Her husband was a drunkard. They worked in the house of others. Her child and husband were dead. She becomes lonely. Then Cabot marries her but she loves Eben, her step-son. She produces a son by Eben but kills him for proving her love for Eben. Thus, the story refers to her lonesome.
In short, all the characters in the play are suffering from lonesome. So, loneliness becomes one of the main themes in the play.