Desire Under the Elms


Eugene O’Neill

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Desire Under the Elms: Part 2: Scene 4 Summary & Analysis

Eben wakes at dawn with a broad grin on his face. Abbie kisses him passionately, and she anxiously wonders if Eben really loves her. Eben confesses that he does, though he’d better get to the barn so that Cabot doesn’t get suspicious. Abbie laughs dismissively, knowing she can easily fool Cabot. Abbie’s excited to air out the parlor and use it for herself. Eben heads to the barn and greets Cabot warmly, saying their disagreement is over because Maw’s finally gone to rest in her grave. Cabot is confused and suspicious. Eben looks around the farm with a possessive expression as he starts working. Cabot looks on with pity, thinking that Eben is a fool. 
Although Abbie originally wanted to conceive a son to inherit the farm, her newly anxious demeanor shows that she really does love Eben, as she worries about losing him. In contrast, Abbie is highly dismissive about Cabot. She doesn’t care for him at all, and she knows that she’s smart enough to easily outwit him and keep pursuing her own desires. Eben is happy because he feels like he has somehow done what Maw would have wanted. As before, her influence continues to guide his feelings and behavior. 
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