© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.



by Sophocles

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : Tragedy

Anticipation Stage

Electra waits for Orestes

As we gather from her conversation with the Chorus, Electra has been waiting for Orestes for some time now. She anticipates both his arrival and the eventual revenge they can take on Clytemnestra.

Dream Stage

Not so much

We find that, perhaps unexpectedly, Electra doesn't lend itself to these traditional plot breakdowns. The play skips right over this stage.

Frustration Stage

Orestes still hasn't shown up; Chrysothemis doesn't support her sister, and apparently Aegisthus has plans to exile or kill Electra.

There's no hope in sight for Electra as she is continuously frustrated by those around her (as we see by her arguments with her sister and her mother).

Nightmare Stage

Electra hears news that Orestes is dead.

This is pretty much the worst news possible for Electra. She faces the prospect of a bleak future while she prepares to avenge her father solo.

Destruction or Death Wish Stage

Orestes murders Clytemnestra; Aegisthus is soon to follow

It's easy to see that there's plenty of death in our death stage. But Booker's plot is supposed to revolve around the hero. The destruction/death stage is supposed to refer to the destruction or death of the hero, but Electra lives at the play's end. What gives? Again, we have to go back to the play's moral theme. One perspective is that Electra's death/destruction is a moral one; by being party to her own mother's murder, she becomes as guilty as the murdered woman.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...