Riders to the Sea

Themes

The pervading theme of this work is the subtle paganism Synge observed in the people of rural Ireland. Following his dismissal of Christianity, Synge found that the predominantly Roman Catholic Ireland still retained many of the folktales and superstitions were born out of the old Celtic paganism. This play is an examination of that idea as he has a set of deeply religious characters find themselves at odds with a unbeatable force of nature (this being the sea). While the family is clearly Catholic, they still find themselves wary of the supernatural characteristics of natural elements, an idea very present in Celtic paganism.


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