Transformation of the Self in Desire under the Elms



As a masterpiece of Eugene O’Neill, Desire under the Elms challenges the limitation of time and interpretation.  Employing Charles Taylor’s theories of ethics, the author explores the moral state of the main characters in the play. Though deeply influenced by the dominant culture of utilitarianism, Eben and Abbie can’t find happiness in pure material possession and physical pleasure. In their competition for wealth, they come to recognize a more enduring power that may bring purgation to greediness and spiritual fulfilment, that is, the good originated from Christianity. Inspired by the power of this good – the other-regarding love, both Eben and Abbie give up selfishness and material desire and gradually achieve a self transformation. The changes that occur on the two characters reveal one of O’Neill’s major concerns in his dramatic creation: the moral confusion of modern man in America.Key words:  Eugene O’Neill; ethics; the good; utilitarianism

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c)

Share us to:   


How to do online submission to another Journal?

If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.

We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases:;;

 Articles published in Studies in Literature and Language are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).


Address: 1020 Bouvier Street, Suite 400, Quebec City, Quebec, G2K 0K9, Canada. 
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138 
Website: Http://; Http://;;

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture