- Download 3
- File Size 274.20 KB
- File Count 1
- Create Date June 28, 2023
- Last Updated June 28, 2023
Riders to the Sea by John Millington Synge PDF
Riders of the Sea is set in a fantasy world.
Riders to the Sea (1904), written by J.M. Synge, is a one-act play with a clear plot. Synge’s play is like a fairy tale in that it is short and mysterious. It asks the reader to consider how great factors like historical change and small forces like grief affect individuals and families. The sea is important throughout the play because the family’s livelihood is based on it. The sea has also delivered death to the mother, Maurya, who has lost her husband and six sons to it.
The Play’s Plot Summary
Three women wait for news at an island house off the coast of Ireland. Maurya is relaxing in a secluded area. Cathleen and Nora, her kids, help with home chores. Their brother, Michael, has been missing for days. Michael is the latest of Maurya’s boys to perish in the sea, which also claimed her husband, as we learn via Nora. Cathleen and Nora recognize Michael’s clothes on a drowned man, but they are hesitant to tell their mother the truth.
It is to announce that their sole surviving brother, Bartley, will be sailing that night as he enters the cottage. Despite the poor weather, Bartley is determined to attend the Connemara horse fair. ‘What is the price of a thousand horses versus a son if there is only one son?’ Maurya is worried, and he asks him. Bartley, on the other hand, is still preparing for his journey. Maurya will not give him her blessing before he leaves.
In the aftermath of Bartley’s departure, Cathleen and Nora are both upset. It is considered unfortunate for Maurya to send him off in fury, and they have also failed to offer him a cake to eat. They persuade their mother to accompany them to Bartley’s house to present him with the cake and her blessing.
Maurya is distraught when she goes home. She met Bartley but was unable to give him her approval. She saw the ghost of his brother Michael following him as he passed with the family’s two horses. She, Cathleen, and Nora are all certain that this is a portent, or bad omen. ‘It’s destroyed, we’re from this day,’ Cathleen exclaims.
A murmur of wailing can be heard along the shoreline shortly after Maurya returns. The women half-expect Michael’s body to be washed ashore at long last. However, the body brought in is Bartley’s. ‘They’re all together this time, and the end is near,’ Maurya says, with gloomy resignation.
Language and Its Importance
Riders to the Sea’s language is renowned for its economy and power. Before composing the play, Synge spent time listening to and recording the Aran Islands’ peculiar speech patterns. The play’s rhythm is determined by speech rhythms, which give the performance a distinct feeling of place, time, and community.
To the modern reader, the characters’ peculiar changes of words (for example, ‘The young priest is after bringing them,’ to signify ‘The young priest brought them’) can appear bizarre. Audiences in Dublin and London in 1904 would have found them just as weird. Riders to the Sea speaks a language that is unique to the fishing settlements of the Aran Islands. It is transformed by Synge.
The play’s realism is enhanced by homey elements. Simple words are repeated, as if they were in a fairy tale. ‘Give it to him, Nora; it’s on a nail by the white boards,’ Cathleen says while Bartley is seeking for a piece of rope. The pig with the black feet was eating it, so I hung it up this morning.’ The play’s symbolic use of color is also characteristic. The requisite rope is hung up by the white boards that will be used for Bartley’s coffin, which is significant.
Words frequently have several meanings. When Cathleen laments, ‘It’s destroyed, he’ll be, definitely,’ she is implying that Bartley would be hungry, but the words might also be seen as a prediction of his death.
Themes and Analysis
Riders to the Sea is considered a classic of the Irish Literary Renaissance, also known as the Irish Literary Revival, which was the rapid growth of various talents in Ireland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including William Butler Yeats, Lady Gregory, Oliver St. John Gogarty, and James Joyce. Not surprisingly, this literary movement originated at a time when Irish nationalism was resurgent. The success of the play in other countries was welcomed by Irish authors such as Yeats, who were keen for their country’s writing to be considered seriously.
Riders to the Sea’s themes can be conceived of as a set of paired concepts:
Death and life
Modernization and tradition
Christianity and paganism are two different religions.
Though we have made our best efforts – the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.
- Maurya: Grief-stricken widow and mother of eight children Cathleen, Nora, Bartley, Shawn, Sheamus, Stephen, Patch, and Michael.
- Cathleen: Maurya’s elder daughter, tries to keep her mother from dying from grief by identifying her deceased brother Michael’s clothing.
- Nora: Maurya’s younger daughter, helps her sister with their mother.
- Bartley: Maurya’s youngest and only living son, has died by the end of the play.
- Maurya’s sons Shawn, Sheamus, Stephen, Patch, and Michael, as well as Maurya’s husband are all deceased when the play begins.
- There is also a priest character who is never seen but is quoted by Cathleen and Nora in the beginning of the play.
- Eamon Simon, Stephen Pheety, and Colum Shawn are the neighbors and friends of Bartley.