Riders to the Sea


J. M. Synge

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Riders to the Sea Characters


Maurya, an old woman, is the mother of Bartley, Michael, Cathleen and Nora, and she has weathered the deaths of her husband, her husband’s father, and the rest of her sons. At this point in… read analysis of Maurya


Bartley is Maurya’s last surviving son, and the only man remaining in the household. He is determined to go out on the sea to provide for his family, despite the grief he feels after the… read analysis of Bartley


Cathleen is Maurya’s older daughter, about twenty years old. She has stepped up as the most capable woman in the household, since Maurya’s age and sorrow have broken much of her mother’s spirit. With… read analysis of Cathleen


A young girl, Nora assists her sister Cathleen in household tasks. She helps take care of their mother Maurya, even as she copes with all the deaths happening around them. Nora seems to have… read analysis of Nora


Various townspeople—primarily old men and old women—enter the family’s cottage at the end of the play as part of the procession bringing Bartley’s body back from the shore. The women explain what has happened… read analysis of Townspeople
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The Young Priest

Though the young priest never physically appears in the play, he is often referenced by other characters, particularly in the context of his promise to Maurya that God would not leave her destitute with no… read analysis of The Young Priest


Michael is Maurya’s son who disappeared before the action of the play begins and thus does not appear onstage. Much of the play’s opening is devoted to characters discussing whether or not Michael is… read analysis of Michael