The Tough Breaks Play Analysis

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The Bough Breaks is one of the three epic plays inside This Restless House by Zinnie Harris which is a modern adaptation based of Aeschylus’ ancient Greek tragedy Oresteia. This trilogy tells the tale of a family struck by madness and murder as Clytemnestra (mother of Electra, Iphigenia and Orestes) murders her husband Agamemnon after he sacrifices their youngest daughter Iphigenia for the gods. This event triggers the downfall of their family as Electra and her brother Orestes suffer with their grief, throwing them into a state of madness just like their mother. This leads to them murdering their own mother in cold blood as well as her new husband Aegisthus as they believed their father demanded revenge. In the end, the family are put on trial…show more content…
We can tell from other Greek play writers, one famous one being Sophocles, that the mind and madness has been a central theme. However, the way it was portrayed back in that era differs now. Greek tragedy focusses on the supernatural aspect of this madness, blaming it either on the gods or an evil possessing them . This could mainly be down to a lack of understanding of psychology in this time but also as it certainly makes for a good tragedy. However, Freudian theories such as the Electra and Oedipus complex show us that from these themes of madness in Greek tragedy, we have derived a more psychological viewpoint which we now use to help diagnose and treat people with similar traits as the characters in these plays. Psychoanalysis, founded by Sigmund Freud, is a type of therapy which aims to make the unconscious mind conscious by releasing repressed emotions . In this type of therapy, they believe the patient’s condition can be determined by any repressed memories of childhood as well as any conflict between their conscious and subconscious which can result in these mental illnesses. We also now know of the Oedipus and Electra complex, both based on two great Greek plays (one of which this essay is about). The Oedipus complex concerns a son’s desire for his mother and his competition with his father for her attention whereas the Electra complex is the female version of this and involves a daughter’s competition with her mother for her father’s attention and love . The themes of madness in The Bough Breaks are thought to be caused by the gods as well as Agamemnon’s ghost, but now we can analyse these symptoms of madness using psychoanalysis but also show that the Electra complex is
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