Discuss The Role Of Maurya In ‘The Riders To The Sea’ As A ‘Mother’ And ‘Priest.’

1074 words - 4 pages

Riders to the Sea by the Irish playwright J.M Synge is a one act drama, which in essence is a tragedy, yet an unusual one. Unlike in traditional tragedies, the hero(ine) of the play does not put up (or even stand) a fighting chance, but undergoes a character transformation, which is more tragic than the demise of a hero.Maurya, the main character, is an old woman. Yet, most importantly, she is a mother; a mother of six sons who had all perished in the sea. She had had a difficult time bringing them up, as her husband was also a victim of the sea. Maurya has undergone a great deal of suffering, which makes her an anxious mother during the first half the play.Like any mother, she too is protective. However, in Maurya's case her protectiveness borders on paranoia. This is evident in her words when Bartley is about to leave for the sea."He won't go this day with the wind rising from the south and west. He won't go this day…."And even though her daughters find her fear to be ravings of "an old woman", they are not without reason. She seems to have the "sixth sense" that mothers have regarding her children, as she sees the vision of Michael riding behind Bartley as he goes off to sea, which is a forewarning of the impending death of Bartley."What is the price of a thousand horses against a son where there is one son only?"Maurya is not concerned about economic interests of life when it comes to family concerns. Like a typical mother, she is oblivious to material aspects of life when opposed to the well-being of her family. She would much rather the family starve for a few days than have her son risk his life in the hands of the ruthless sea, that she now knows from experience is an unstoppable force of nature.And yet, her not prioritizing economy does not mean she has no care for her family."What way will I live and the girls with me, and I an old woman looking for the grave?"She is concerned of the family's future. More than herself, she is concerned of her two daughters, who are yet to be married. It is essential for a fishing family to have a male role in the family as the backbone of thriving. If Bartley dies, as Maurya is sure he will,"I'll have no son left me in the world"The two girls will be left destitute. It is this that nags her constantly, for being a mother, her main purpose in life is to ensure that her children are stabilized in the society during her lifetime.Concisely, Maurya is a typical mother that one can find in the society. Yet, having seen the death of eight men, having had a hard life, having been through suffering and having witnessed the many grief life has to offer, her motherly characteristics are sharpened and made paranoid at the same time. One may think that she is an overly anxious mother, yet it is the love she has towards her family that had been severely put to test by the nature that compels her to be so.Her test peaks and stabilizes when she discovers that Bartley too is dead....

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