Riders to the Sea

The Irish Dramatic movement led by Lady Gregory and W.B. Yeats in the 1890’s was dedicated to bring back to the English Theatre the quality of poetry missing for nearly two centuries. As opposed to prose drama which tends to deal with the particular, poetic drama is universal in nature. It is a drama of emotion which will transport us into an unfamiliar reality where the audience can sink to the very depths of emotional existence: the very essence of life. Riders to the Sea is grounded in the fundamental and timeless truth of existence that from the day one is born it is only a constant journey towards death. The play centres on the frightful vision of a red mare symbolising life followed by a grey mare symbolising death conveying with the greatest of simplicity that life is forever followed by death. His play concentrates on the biggest and undeniable fact of life that from the moment man comes into the world he is simply walking towards death.
                                                    The basic tenets of poetic drama involve a poetic vision, poetic characters and poetic material. Synge couldn’t find it in Germany or Paris. He took the suggestion of Yeats and visited the Aran Islands and described Aran life as poetic. Their life was so essentially primitive that they retained their particular, different awareness of life and death. Their life was a constant interaction with nature as represented by the sea. Their response is dual- oscillating between good and evil. The whole of the play brings out a civilization so shockingly different in their values, ethics and beliefs that it is almost impossible to credit their existence in the modern world. As is logical, any drama that professes to be poetic must contain within itself several poetic characteristics. It is best then to begin with an identification and explanation of these features that in their totality makes this play poetic in nature. The most...