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

1332 words - 6 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 ...view middle of the document...

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. There she discovers that,"there isn't anything more the sea can do to me…."And this acceptance transforms Maurya from a helpless mother to a strong woman, who, in fact, may be elevated to the level of a priest. A priest is considered the medium that links normal man with God. By being a passive acceptor of fate, Maurya attains this status. For now, she is above the powers of the great force of nature, the sea itself. There is nothing left for her to lose, and thus she is undefeatable. Her power, however, is not the kind vested upon a normal soul by an Almighty God. Her powers area achieved through her state of mind, through her understanding. Maurya rises to the level of a priest via suffering and enduring.This self-development proclaims her as a worthier priest than the priest in the play introduced by Synge. The priest in the play is a young, naïve person as opposed to Maurya, who realizes and accepts fate in all calmness. The nominal priest may...

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