Essay, Research Paper: Miss Julie And Mourning Becomes Electra


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In some works of literature a character who appears briefly or does not appear
at all has a significant presence. Even though a character may not be present in
a play, does not mean that they have no importance. In fact, these characters
have more of an influence over the way the other characters act and speak. Two
plays that exhibit this are Miss Julie, by August Strindberg and Mourning
Becomes Electra, by Eugene O'Neill. In Mourning Becomes Electra, Ezra Mannon has
a relatively small part; he is rarely even in the play, yet he has such an
important role. He sets the mood to the play and his actions, even though he is
not there, tell how the other characters will act. Mannon's daughter, Lavinia is
in love with him, it is he she would do anything for. Lavinia becomes so jealous
of her mother's relationship with her father. She loves her father so much that
she convinces her brother to kill their mother's lover, Brant, in order to seek
revenge upon her. Due to the lack of love and affection that Ezra gives to his
wife, Christine, she takes it upon herself to seek revenge of her own. She takes
a lover, not just any lover, but an enemy of the family. She then poisons her
husband and kills him. All of these incidents are caused by Ezra, even though
some are caused by him indirectly. In Miss Julie, by August Strindberg, The
Count, even though he is not present at all throughout the entire play, has a
very strong role. His presence in the play is very intense and u can clearly see
how he influences all of the other characters in this play. You can see how all
of the other characters are willing to do anything he says. In the play Jean
tells Julie that he would agreeably kill himself if the Count had asked him to
do so. You can see from this quote how respectful Jean is towards the Count.
Iíve never met anyone I had such respect for. When I see his gloves lying on a
chair, I feel small. When I hear that bell up there ring, I jump like a skittish
horse. And when I look at his boots standing there so stiff and proud, I feel
like bowing! (Strindberg 395). This quote clearly shows how Jean is almost
afraid of the Count. At the end of this play, Julie becomes so terrified of what
her father is going to say that she plans on running away with Jean, but she
ends up killing herself instead. She talks about how her father had tried to
kill himself but was never able to do it, this may cause her to do it at the
end. When the Count returns at the end of the play, he calls Jean to clean his
boots, Jean nervously obeys him, from this you can see how much of an affect he
has on all of the characters. Therefore you can see from these examples how even
though characters may not appear in a story, or they only appear briefly, they
do have a significance.
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