Riders to the sea questions answers analysis

Riders to the Sea Questions Answers with Analysis 

Riders to the Sea Questions Answers Analysis

Summary of Riders to the Sea:


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The article contains:

● What is the theme of Riders to the Sea?

● What is the role of the sea in Riders to the Sea?

● Character in Riders to the Sea 

● Riders to the Sea as a tragedy. 

● Title of Riders to the Sea 

● Riders to the Sea as a poetic drama 

Important Questions Answers from the play Riders to the Sea 


1) Consider Riders to the Sea a one-act play.

Ans: J.M. Synge's Riders to the Sea can be considered one of the masterpieces in the sphere of one-act play for its concentration, compression and intensity -- both in theme and technique. In this play only the helpless predicament of the Aran islanders before sea symbolizes Fate is emphasized. The number of characters on-stage is restricted to the minimum-- only four. The setting is also indicated by a few references and the effect of compression and intensity has been achieved primarily through the use of poetic dialogues, which gives this play its heightened tone of tragic publicity.

2) Evaluate Riders to the Sea as a poetic drama.

Ans: J. M. Synge's Riders to the Sea depicts the elemental passions and emotions of mankind and shows something of the simplicity and profundity of the classical Greek drama. It is based on the natural idiom of the Aran islanders whose speech is naturally poetic. Synge's images and symbols further raise the particular tragedy of a particular community to the lofty level of an archetypal conflict between man and destiny. Thus, Riders to the Sea with its poetic language and style, it's very apt symbolism and above all, with the final sublimation in the character of Maurya, can be called a poetic drama. 

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3) Comment on the title of Riders to the Sea. 

Ans: The title of J. M. Synge's Riders to the Sea is quite significant in so far as it leads us into the heart of the principal theme or motif of the play, namely, the conflict between man and sea. Though the "Riders" mentioned in the title are Maurya's fifth and sixth sons as the play's action depicts, Maurya's reminiscences of the other deaths suggest that her husband, father-in-law, four other sons and all husbands and sons of all other Mauryas are very similar riders to the sea which remains very much living in the background and in the minds and talks of the Aran islanders. 

4) Consider Riders to the Sea a Greek tragedy.

Ans: J. M. Synge's Riders to the Sea is a tragedy that presents a world in which death is common and life only symbolizes man's helplessness and pathetic surrender to his fate. But even then the characters face the challenge and rise to the heroic grandeur in facing it. The tragic protagonist Maurya symbolizes humanity in the true Aristotelian sense and arouses pity and fear in us. The play gives a strong sense of fate in the classical sense and it has something of the simplicity and depth of much Greek drama, where the conditions of the essential conflict are known and accepted as an aspect of the human situation. 

5) Consider Maurya as a tragic character. 

Ans: A tragic protagonist suffers and is ultimately crushed by the mighty forces against which he or she struggles, but till the very end he or she holds his or her head high with a dignified calm that fills our mind with a sense of human courage and dignity. It is in this sense that Maurya, a poor Irish peasant woman in Synge's Riders to the Sea attains the level of a tragic character. With her almost heroic self-control, stoic endurance and fortitude she becomes the archetypal mother-figure who is very much capable of facing the frowns of Fate and gives us a sense of assurance about the fundamental dignity of man.

6) Describe the role of the sea in the play Riders to the Sea. 

Ans: In J. M.  Synge's Riders to the Sea, the sea is the symbol of Fate. The tragic conflicts of the play show the sea as a living force ranged against the weak, helpless Aran islanders. They can not keep away from the sea, for it is the principal source of their living. But the formidable sea is ruthless like inexorable fate and it devours up man for the sheer pleasure of it. Like Fate personified, it determines the way the islanders should live and die.

7) What is the role of the young priest in the play?

Ans: The young priest, who is mentioned several times in the play, does not actually appear on the stage before us. As a priest he is interested in the welfare of the people. He offers advice and consolation to those who are in any kind of trouble. The Aran fisherfolk including Maurya and her family respect and obey him. But towards the end of the play, Maurya attaches no importance to what the young priest had said regarding the behaviour of the sea. This shows that trouble and hardship have broken the bond of faith and loyalty between the young priest and the Aran islanders. 

8) "No man at all can be living for ever, and we must be satisfied" -- Explain the significance of the line in relation to the play Riders to the Sea. 

Ans: The quoted comment taken from J. M.  Synge's Riders to the Sea is made by Maurya. This is the voice of her stoic conscience and her ultimate realization of life that nobody is immortal. Though the sea has snatched the lives of her husband and all her sons away, she does not have a y grievance on that ground, because she knows that all human beings have to die sooner or later. Here Maurya expresses an attitude of stoic resignation which elevates her character to the height of universal motherhood and gives her character a tragic grandeur. 

9) "I've seen the fearfulest thing ........" -- what is the 'fearfulest thing' refers to the play?

Ans: The quoted comment taken from J. M.  Synge's Riders to the Sea is made by Maurya to her daughters Cathleen and Nora. She tells her daughters that she has seen the ghost of Michael riding the grey pony behind the red mare of Bartley. She says that nobody has seen such a frightening sight since the day when Bride Dara saw a dead man holding a child in his arms. She is evidently referring to some legend current among the people. 

10) ".....the Almighty God won't leave her destitute" -- who says this and why?

Ans: This is the opinion of the young priest in the play. He thinks that the Almighty God would listen to Maurya's prayers and would not therefore let her destitute of any living son and render her totally helpless. Maurya who has lost almost her family in the form of husband, father-in-law, five sons deserves sympathy from the Almighty God. Thus the young priest thinks that the God will be kind enough to protect her last surviving son, Bartley. 

11) Name the six sons of Maurya. 

Ans: The six sons of Maurya are -- Stephen, Shawn, Sheamus, Patch, Michael and Bartley. 

12) What is Samhain?

Ans: The term "Samhain" refers to the All Souls' Day which falls on the 1st November. After the death of her last surviving son Bartley, Maurya says that it will no longer be necessary for her to obtain Holy Water in the dark nights after Samhain in order to sprinkle it over the dead body of her son.

13) "In the big world the old people do be leaving things after them for their sons and children, but in this place it is the young men do be leaving things behind for them that do be old." -- who is the speaker here? What is the significance of this speech?

Ans: These words are spoken by Maurya, the central character in the play Riders to the Sea. 
           When Cathleen has asked Nora to give Michael's stick to Maurya so that she can support herself then Maurya takes the stick of Michael and says the quoted line. In this world it is customary for old people to leave things behind for the young but in her house, young man like Michael leaving behind things for the benefit of the old person like herself. The remark of Maurya brings pity and draws our attention to the pathetic condition of Maurya. 

14) "What is the price of a thousand horses against a son when there's one son only?" -- who is the speaker here? What does the line reveal?

Ans: The quoted line was spoken by Maurya, the central character of the play Riders to the Sea. 
          Bartley, the last surviving son of Maurya is ready to go to the Galway fair to sell horses. Maurya tries to prevent Bartley from sailing over stormy sea by saying that in her eyes, the value of even a thousand horses is nothing as compared to her son especially when he is her last surviving son. The line reveals Maurya's intense maternal anxiety about the safety of her son.

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