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Summries About Plays

In: English and Literature

Submitted By itsaiih
Words 472
Pages 2
Summary...
One act play: Riders to the sea
By John Millington
The play begins with Maurya, who has fallen into a fitful sleep. She is certain that her son, Michael, has drowned, even though she has no proof, and has been constantly grieving for nine days. Cathleen, her daughter, is doing household chores when Nora, another daughter arrives. She quietly slips into the kitchen with a bundle that had been given to her by a young priest. In the bundle are clothes taken from the body of a man who drowned in the far north. They were sent to Maurya's home, hoping that she would be able to identify the body.
Maurya begins to look as if she is going to wake up soon, so the daughters hide the bundle until a time when they are alone. Maurya awakes, and her fear for losing her only remaining son Bartley intensifies her grieving for Michael. Keep in mind, she has already lost five sons and a husband to the sea. The priest claims that that "insatiable tyrant" will not take her sixth. However, Bartley proclaims that he is going to venture over to the mainland that same day, in order to sell a horse at the fair, despite knowing of the high winds and seas.
Maurya begs Bartley not to go, yet he insists despite her pleas. In a flustered state of irritation, Maurya bids him gone without her blessing. Upon seeing these events unfold, the sisters tell Maurya, that she should go out and search for Bartley in order to give him the lunch that they he had forgotten to bring, and while at it, give him her blessing.
Maurya agrees to go, and once she is gone, the girls open the bundle. They find that they were indeed Michael's clothes, but at least they have the comfort of knowing he got a respectable Christian burial where he washed up in the north. At this point, Maurya returns even more flustered and terrified before. She has seen a vision of Michael riding on the lead horse behind Bartley. Because of this, she is sure Bartley is doomed to die at sea. The girls then show her Michael's clothes, and she exclaims that the nice white boards she had bought for Michael's coffin may now be used for Bartley's instead.
As she says this, the neighbors (women) enter, their voices raised in what the play calls a "keen", or wailing lament for the dead. Men follow the women, who bring in the body of Bartley, who, sure enough, is dead. He has been knocked off a cliff into the surf below by the horse he was leading. The play ends with Maurya's fatal submission as she says, "They're all gone now and there isn't anything more the sea can do to me."…...

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