RIDERS TO THE SEA
J. M. Synge is one of the greatest dramatists of modern period. His contribution to the Irish theatre is notable. He wrote both tragedies and highly moving comedies. He reacted sharply against the popular realistic drama. So, he reverted to legend and myth. He is a great observer of peasantry. As a playwright his greatness lies in his use of the idiom of peasantry.
‘Riders to the Sea' is a powerful and deeply moving tragedy in one act. The action of this poignant tragedy takes place on one of Aran Islands. It deals with the life of Maurya and her family members. Their belief and suffering have been presented. It starts with the note of foreboding and ends with the note of resignation.
‘Riders to the Sea' is a drama about primitive life. In primitive life the sea plays an important role. In this play the sea has been presented as a mysterious power. It has the capacity of giving and taking away life. Maurya is the main character of this play. The sea has played the game of great destruction in her life.
Maurya is an old woman. She has two daughters named Cathleen and Nora. As the play opens, she waits for the news of dead body of her drowned son, Michael. Maurya has already lost her husband, her father- in law and her four sons. Michael was her fifth son. Maurya sixth son Bartley intends to go to Galway fair to sell the horses. For that he has to cross the sea. Maurya forbids him but he is adamant to go. He goes out. But soon some people come with his dead body. At last Maurya says that all her male folks are gone now. The sea can't do any more harm to her now. Now she would not have to care if the sea is stormy. Finally she says,' No man at all can be living for ever, and we must be satisfied.'
Thus 'Riders to the Sea' is a true tragedy. Here we find excessive dramatization of the ruthless sea. The drama deals with the unlimited loss and sadness of Maurya. She has lost all her folk men one by one. Maurya and her two daughters suffer the true winter of life. It is the authentic darkness of nature that envelops their lives. Here lies the tragic vision of the dramatist.