“Rider’s to the Sea” as a Miniature Greek Tragedy
Although RTTS is much shorter than a GT, it is considered to share the distinctive features of this kind of play. In this essay the elements present in RTTS which make it possible to identify it as a MGT will be analyzed.
To begin with, in RTTS the heroine, Maurya, has been struggling against destiny all her life. However she is finally destroyed by fate when nature puts an end to the lives of her two sons. At this point the characters fall into disgrace in a sudden change in fortune called peripetia. As a result, a moment of catharsis is created. That is to say that the play arouses pity and fear. For instance, in RTTS Maurya’s lamenting speech in the first monologue causes the audience and readers to experience emotions. Another significant characteristic of the GT is the moment of anagnorisis, which means awareness. In the case of RTTS, there is anagnorisis when Nora and Cathleen realize that the clothes that the priest brought are Michael’s. There is also anagnorisis when Maurya realizes Michael is dead, and finally when the family gets to know that Bartley has drowned in the sea. Furthermore, in the story there is the presence of the chorus, which is a group of people who advance the plot. For instance, in RTTS there is a group of women who enter Maurya’s house kneeling and crossing after Bartley dies. Apart from that, RTTS is a MGT since it respects the three Aristotelian units, which are unity of time, place and action. For example in RTTS, the story happens in one day, in a kitchen and there is only one plot.
All in all, RTTS is considered a MGT because it has the characteristics of the GT described by Aristotle in the “Poetics” and, at the same time, because it is shorter than them.