Riders to the Sea by J.M Synge | Summary Class 12 by Suraj Bhatt

Riders to the Sea by J.M Synge | Summary Class 12 by Suraj Bhatt
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Riders to the Sea by J.M Synge Class 12 Summary from Plays in One-act

Riders to the Sea by J.M Synge


Riders to the Sea by J.M Synge

'Riders to the Sea' is a one-act tragic play that has been written by an Irish playwright, J. M. Synge. This one-act play deals with the reality of sea riders. It also shows the reality of the sea riders who are living by the sea. For sea riders, the sea is their main source of income to survive. The sea provides them with fish and daily earnings, whereas it snatches their lives too. The story of this one-act play centres around an old woman named Maurya and her family. Maurya is the protagonist of this one-act play. She is a tragic figure who suffers a lot and faces great loss in her life one after another. Her life is full of troubles, sorrows, misfortunes, griefs, and bitter experiences. However, she isn't defeated by an evil fate and unfavourable circumstances. Her courage, determination, and calmness prove her heroic character.

In the family of Maurya, there were eleven members, including her. Maurya had eight male members, including a father-in-law, a husband, and six bold sons. But, at the end of the play, there were no males left in her family. All of them became victims of evil fate or circumstances.

Her misfortune moved along with the deaths of her family members, one by one. She lost her sons, Stephen and Shawn, in the great wind of the sea. They didn't come back home after that terrible whirlwind. Their dead bodies were lost somewhere in the sea due to that tempest. Her husband, son Sheamus, and father-in-law had a tragic end to the night. Her sons Michael, Patch, and Bartley even drowned in the sea in different circumstances.

This one-act play has been presented at the Opera House of Ireland. This play starts after Maurya's fifth son, Michael's, death. Maurya is an old peasant woman living on one of the Aran Islands at the mouth of Galway Bay on the western coast of Ireland, a wild, desolate, impoverished area. Maurya has heard about Michael's accident. She has been grieving for nine days in the memory of his beloved son, Michael. Her daughter, Cathleen, is doing household tasks. In the meantime, her daughter, Nora, arrives. Nora has brought a bundle of clothes. She quietly enters the kitchen without informing her mother about the clothes. The bundle of clothes had been given to her by a priest. The clothes were taken off the dead body of a man who was drowned in the far north. He was buried in Donegal. The clothes were sent to Maurya's house so that they could easily identify the dead body.

When Maurya wakes up, both of the daughters hide the bundle of clothes. They don't want to cause tension with their mother. Maurya has a fear of her one and only son, Bartley. But her son, Bartley, is also planning to go to the Galway Fair across the sea to sell his two horses. Maurya begs in front of Bartley not to go across the sea to sell the horses. The weather is so fierce, and the wind is blowing so fast. But Bartley doesn't listen to his mother. He insists on going across the sea to sell his horses. He also adds that if he misses the boat, there won't be another boat for two weeks. He desires to ride a red mare along the shore to the boat with a grey pony behind him. Maurya refuses to give a blessing to Bartley. Bartley leaves the place feeling so sad. The two sisters persuade their mother and ask her to follow and provide him with blessings and bread for his journey. Maurya goes out after that.

Both sisters opened the bundle of clothes to identify it. Nora counts the knitted stitches of that stocking. They easily find out the stocking belongs to Michael because Nora knitted it. Maurya goes up to the spring well to provide blessings and half-bread to her son. But she sees a terrible dream at that time. She sees Bartley riding the red mare, followed by a grey pony, upon which Michael is riding, wearing a fine dress and new shoes. Maurya becomes restless to see that sight and supposes it is a bad sign for Bartley. Maurya is unable to call out Bartley to give him blessings and bread. One of the priests even persuades her that he cannot stop Bartley from going to the Galway fair. He adds that God won't do any harm to her last son, Bartley. When Maurya comes back, both of the daughters hide the bundle of clothes once again.

Finally, the last son also becomes the victim of the sea. While he was going across the sea towards the mainland (Galway Fair), the grey pony knocked him down into the sea, and the strong waves of the sea carried him into the deep sea. The neighbours come along with the dead body of Bartley, carrying it on a plank. Later on, Cathleen gently hands Michael's clothes to Maurya. In the family of Maurya, no men are left now to earn bread. She is completely left in grief and poverty. Despite such tragedy, Maurya isn't defeated by sorrow. She consoles herself by saying that no man can live forever, and we must be satisfied. Being religious, she empties the cup of holy water and puts it down inverted, and she keeps praying that all the men's departed souls may rest peacefully in heaven. She is satisfied by thinking that the souls of all the male members of her family must be together in peace in another world.

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