Tragedy And Satire Of Irish Life As Depicted By J.M. Syng

716 words - 3 pages

Riders to The Sea and The Playboy of the Western World in a way are two opposite poles of Syng's literary work, as the first one represents him as a great patriot and the other as a cruel realistic satirist of the very nation he himself originates from.

Riders to the Sea is a short poetic play that depicts the perennial failure of those who work with and on the sea. The play is a mere moment in the lives of few characters, but it holds within it the meaning of what they and the millions like them have done and suffered. The play reflects reality in which people have to struggle for a living, but unlike most of his work this play is not concerned with social, political or nationalistic issues, it cuts behind the surface engaging its characters in the most elemental kind of struggle- that for existence. Thanks to the realistic, highly descriptive and plausible language Sing uses to tell his story, after the very first lines reader in his mind gets the picture of the cruel, wild and rough terrain. Syng uses that kind of language to describe the conflict between human beings and nature but through the story of old fisher wife, Maurya. She lost her husband, her father in law, and all her sons except one, but the ominous presence of death throughout the play foretells his inevitable death. In that light she can be perceived as the universal picture of the suffering motherhood, but also she is an archetype of all Irish women that for centuries endured all misfortunes patiently awaiting their husband to come back from battle, from the sea...but all in vein. Syng tells us that in this world only men die but women endure for the sake of their children and future. He also tells us that in this community the young tend to die before the old, and therefore in Synge's ironic universe this place becomes a microcosms in which the survival is never certain, but death always is. But these people do not hate the sea, Bartley leaves his safe home in spite of the pervading omens of death. For them the sea is their live hood and they are unbreakable tied to it in the...

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