Date of Award

Spring 1934

Document Type



Languages & Literature


In order to understand the full extent of the influence of the Orestia on Mourning Becomes Electra one must consider, in the first place, the impetus for action in both trilogies. I shall first take up the question of the impetus for action in the Orestia. In Greek drama this impetus resolves itself in the idea of fate. Thoughts of fate pervaded all Greek literature and influenced Greek life. In their literature the Greeks do not use one single expression to sum up their notion of fate. Very often the same author uses expressions that are inconsistent. Life is no simple matter; no human formula applies to all its phases. Fate, the motive power of events, or the movement itself, evades formulation. (1)