Desire Under the Elms

by

Eugene O’Neill

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The Baby (Abbie and Eben’s Son) Character Analysis

Abbie and Eben conceive a son, known to all as “the baby.” Since Abbie and Eben’s relationship is a secret, they fool Cabot into thinking the baby is his own. And since Cabot had promised to will the farm to Abbie if she gave him a son, Abbie is now positioned to inherit the property—as was her initial plan in marrying Cabot to begin with. At the end of the play, Abbie suffocates the newborn baby using a pillow in an impulsive moment, as she mistakenly thinks that this will prove to Eben that she won’t use the baby as leverage to seize the farm for herself and that she genuinely loves Even.

The Baby (Abbie and Eben’s Son) Quotes in Desire Under the Elms

The Desire Under the Elms quotes below are all either spoken by The Baby (Abbie and Eben’s Son) or refer to The Baby (Abbie and Eben’s Son). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Desire, Revenge, and Tragedy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Desire Under the Elms published in 1995.
Part 2: Scene 1 Quotes

He bows his head, mumbling. She pretends to do likewise but gives him a side glance of scorn and triumph.

Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3: Scene 1 Quotes

Let's celebrate the old skunk gittin’ fooled! We kin have some fun now he’s went.

Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3: Scene 2 Quotes

They grapple in what becomes immediately a murderous struggle. The old man's concentrated strength is too much for Eben. Cabot gets one hand on his throat and presses him back across the stone wall. At the same moment, Abby comes out on the porch. With a stifled cry she runs toward them.

Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

I wish he never was born! I wish he’d die this minit! I wish I’d never set eyes on him! It’s him—yew havin’ him-a-purpose t’ steal—that’s changed everythin’!

Related Characters: Eben (speaker), Abbie Putnam, The Baby (Abbie and Eben’s Son)
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

If I could make it—‘s if he’d never come up between us—if I could prove t’ ye I wa’n’t schemin’ t’ steal from ye—so’s everythin’ could be jest the same with us, lovin’ each other jest the same, kissin’ an’ happy the same’s we’ve been happy afore he come—if I could do it—ye’d love me agen, wouldn’t ye? Ye’d kiss me agen? Ye wouldn’t never leave me, would ye?

Related Characters: Abbie Putnam (speaker), Eben, The Baby (Abbie and Eben’s Son)
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3: Scene 3 Quotes

But I’ll take vengeance now! I’ll git the Sheriff! I’ll tell him everythin’!

Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

I kin hear His voice warnin’ me agen t’ be hard an’ stay on my farm. […] It’s agoin’ t’ be lonesomer now than ever it war afore-an’ I’m gittin’ old […] Waal—what d’ ye want? God’s lonesome, hain’t He? God’s hard an’ lonesome!

Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

It’s a jim-dandy farm, no denyin’. Wished I owned it!

Related Characters: Sheriff (speaker), Eben, Abbie Putnam, The Baby (Abbie and Eben’s Son)
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Desire Under the Elms LitChart as a printable PDF.
Desire Under the Elms PDF

The Baby (Abbie and Eben’s Son) Character Timeline in Desire Under the Elms

The timeline below shows where the character The Baby (Abbie and Eben’s Son) appears in Desire Under the Elms. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2: Scene 1
Desire, Revenge, and Tragedy Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...was just angry about not inheriting the farm and that she was joking. Then she reasons that Cabot needs Eben’s labor on the farm. Calming down, Cabot agrees. Cabot decides that... (full context)
Part 2: Scene 2
Farming, Labor, and Poverty Theme Icon
Religion, Faith, and Suffering Theme Icon
...why Eben thinks it belongs to Maw. Cabot thinks he’s worked harder than all his sons combined, and he believes his children are “soft.” Noticing that Abbie isn’t really listening to... (full context)
Part 3: Scene 1
Desire, Revenge, and Tragedy Theme Icon
Farming, Labor, and Poverty Theme Icon
...warm spring night. Eben is in his bedroom, wrestling with his conflicting emotion. There’s a baby in a cradle in the other bedroom. Downstairs, there is a festive party going on.... (full context)
Religion, Faith, and Suffering Theme Icon
...strong and tough he is. Upstairs, Eben walks to the cradle and looks at the baby. At the same time, Abbie gets up to check on the baby. Cabot affectionately pats... (full context)
Gender Theme Icon
Upstairs, Abbie and Eben kiss, before looking lovingly at the baby. It bothers Eben that Cabot’s taking the baby away from him, like everything that’s Eben’s.... (full context)
Part 3: Scene 2
Desire, Revenge, and Tragedy Theme Icon
...the farm from Abbie’s clutches. Cabot explains that Abbie had a plan to have a son so that she could cut Eben off and take the farm for herself. With a... (full context)
Desire, Revenge, and Tragedy Theme Icon
...of Eben’s throat. Triumphantly, Cabot releases Eben and dances off, saying he’ll raise his new son to be stronger than Eben is. Abbie runs to Eben, but Eben pushes her off... (full context)
Desire, Revenge, and Tragedy Theme Icon
...angrily planning to leave for California in the morning, as he curses Abbie and the baby. He wishes that the baby—who’s now to inherit the farm—would die this minute. Dumbfounded, Abbie... (full context)
Part 3: Scene 3
Desire, Revenge, and Tragedy Theme Icon
It’s just before dawn, and Abbie bends over the baby’s cradle in the dim light, with a look of terror and triumph on her face.... (full context)
Desire, Revenge, and Tragedy Theme Icon
Eben falls to his knees, trembling, as Abbie explains that she suffocated the baby with a pillow. She did it to prove that she loves Eben, because he wished... (full context)
Part 3: Scene 4
Desire, Revenge, and Tragedy Theme Icon
Religion, Faith, and Suffering Theme Icon
...and heads to the kitchen. Abbie sits there, looking blank. She blurts out that the baby’s dead—she smothered him with a pillow. Trembling, Cabot asks why. Abbie furiously bursts out that... (full context)