The scene of "Riders to the Sea" is laid in a cottage on Inishmaan, the middle and most interesting island of the Aran group. While Synge was on Inishmaan, the story came to him of a man whose body had been washed up on the far away coast of Donegal, and who, by reason of certain peculiarities of dress, was suspected to be from the island.
Background[ edit ] InJ. He went on to spend the summers from to there. While on the Aran island of Inishmaan, Synge heard the story of a man from Inishmaan whose body washed up on the shore of an island of County Donegalwhich inspired Riders to the Sea. Synge's use of the native Irish language is part of the Irish Literary Revivala period when Irish literature looked to encourage pride and nationalism in Ireland.
Important characters[ edit ] Maurya: Maurya's elder daughter, tries to keep her mother from dying from grief by identifying her deceased brother Michael's clothing. Maurya's younger daughter, helps her sister with their mother.
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. Plot synopsis[ edit ] Maurya has lost her husband, and five of her sons to the sea. As the play begins Nora and Cathleen receive word from the priest that a body, which may be their brother Michael, has washed up on shore in Donegalon the Irish mainland north of their home island of Inishmaan.
Bartley is planning to sail to Connemara to sell a horse, and ignores Maurya's pleas to stay. Maurya predicts that by nightfall she will have no living sons, and her daughters chide her for sending Bartley off with an ill word.
Maurya goes after Bartley to bless his voyage, and Nora and Cathleen receive clothing from the drowned corpse that confirms it was Michael. Maurya returns home claiming to have seen the ghost of Michael riding behind Bartley and begins lamenting the loss of the men in her family to the sea, after which some villagers bring in the corpse of Bartley.
He has fallen off his horse into the sea and drowned. This speech of Maurya's is famous in Irish drama: I'll have no call now to be up crying and praying when the wind breaks from the south, and you can hear the surf is in the east, and the surf is in the west, making a great stir with the two noises, and they hitting one on the other.
I'll have no call now to be going down and getting Holy Water in the dark nights after Samhain, and I won't care what way the sea is when the other women will be keening.
Themes[ edit ] The pervading theme of this work is the subtle paganism Synge observed in the people of rural Ireland. Following his dismissal of Christianity, Synge found that the predominantly Roman Catholic Ireland still retained many of the folktales and superstitions born out of the old Celtic paganism.
This play is an examination of that idea as he has a set of deeply religious characters find themselves at odds with an unbeatable force of nature this being the sea. While the family is clearly Catholic, they still find themselves wary of the supernatural characteristics of natural elements, an idea very present in Celtic paganism.
Cinema[ edit ] At least two motion picture versions of the play have been made: Hurst had been mentored in Hollywood by John Ford, and Ruth Barton describes scenes in the film as "remarkably Fordian. Opera[ edit ] The composer Ralph Vaughan Williams — made an almost verbatim setting of the play as an operausing the same title Bruce Montgomery — wrote a light opera, Spindriftthat was based on Riders to the Sea.
American composer Marga Richter born also set the play as a one-act opera, using the same title Elements of Classical Tragedy and Modern Theathre in 'Riders to the Sea' by John Millington Synge 'Riders to the Sea' by John Millington Synge combines both modern and classical elements in it.
The play is modern in that it deals with the sorrows and predicaments of a common human being and it is classical in that it maintains the classical principles of drama as laid down in Aristotle’s Poetic.
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Interesting Literary Elements in the Riders of the Sea There are several different literary elements that are available to assist in analyzing literature. In J.
M. Synge’s () tragic drama Riders of the Sea there are several interesting literary elements throughout. The scene is set in a cottage in an island off western Ireland, where an. The scene of "Riders to the Sea" is laid in a cottage on Inishmaan, the middle and most interesting island of the Aran group.
While Synge was on Inishmaan, the story came to him of a man whose body had been washed up on the far away coast of Donegal, and who, by reason of certain peculiarities of dress, was suspected to be from the island.