Riders to the Sea

Cathleen Character Analysis

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 most of her brothers gone, Cathleen is prepared to take on more responsibility at home, but she still firmly believes in traditional gender roles, such as Bartley’s duty as a young man to go on the sea.

Cathleen Quotes in Riders to the Sea

The Riders to the Sea quotes below are all either spoken by Cathleen or refer to Cathleen. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Spirituality and Mourning Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of Riders to the Sea published in 1993.
Act 1 Quotes

It’s the life of a young man to be going on the sea, and who would listen to an old woman with one thing and she saying it over?

Related Characters: Cathleen (speaker), Maurya, Bartley
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Cathleen Character Timeline in Riders to the Sea

The timeline below shows where the character Cathleen appears in Riders to the Sea. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Age and Gender Theme Icon
...Ireland, opens on a kitchen inside a cottage filled with nets, oil-skins, and cooking tools. Cathleen, a girl around twenty years old, is kneading dough and spinning thread when Nora, her... (full context)
Spirituality and Mourning Theme Icon
Fate and Mortality Theme Icon
The Power of the Sea Theme Icon
After Cathleen tells her that Maurya is lying down, Nora presents a bundle that the young priest... (full context)
Fate and Mortality Theme Icon
The Power of the Sea Theme Icon
Hearing Maurya stirring in the other room, Cathleen hides the bundle in the turf-loft and throws turf down to feed the oven, in... (full context)
Fate and Mortality Theme Icon
The Power of the Sea Theme Icon
A sad, quiet Bartley enters and quickly asks for the rope, which Cathleen had hung up to prevent the pig from eating it. Maurya attempts to keep Bartley... (full context)
Fate and Mortality Theme Icon
Age and Gender Theme Icon
As Bartley uses the rope to make a halter for his horse, he instructs Cathleen on taking care of certain chores once he is gone, though Maurya is skeptical that... (full context)
Spirituality and Mourning Theme Icon
Age and Gender Theme Icon
Maurya despairingly cries out that she will have no son left her by nightfall, and Cathleen rebukes her for not giving Bartley a blessing and “sending him out with an unlucky... (full context)
Fate and Mortality Theme Icon
Age and Gender Theme Icon
The Power of the Sea Theme Icon
With Maurya gone after Bartley, Cathleen and Nora have their chance to look through the bundle. Cutting through the knots, they... (full context)
Spirituality and Mourning Theme Icon
Age and Gender Theme Icon
The Power of the Sea Theme Icon
Cathleen hears Maurya coming back up the path, and decides that they will not tell her... (full context)
Spirituality and Mourning Theme Icon
Fate and Mortality Theme Icon
...then saw Michael in fine clothes and shoes riding behind Bartley on a gray pony. Cathleen immediately begins to keen, believing that this is an omen of death for Bartley, and... (full context)
Spirituality and Mourning Theme Icon
Fate and Mortality Theme Icon
Age and Gender Theme Icon
The Power of the Sea Theme Icon
...ways in which her sons, husband, and father-in-law have died on the sea, Nora and Cathleen hear someone crying out on the seashore. Old women begin to come into the house... (full context)
Spirituality and Mourning Theme Icon
Fate and Mortality Theme Icon
The Power of the Sea Theme Icon
...on a plank with a bit of sail covering it. One of the women tells Cathleen that Bartley’s horse knocked him into the sea. (full context)
Spirituality and Mourning Theme Icon
Fate and Mortality Theme Icon
Age and Gender Theme Icon
The Power of the Sea Theme Icon
...the sea has taken her last son and she now will have “a great rest.” Cathleen reflects on how “old” and “broken” Maurya has become, and Maurya prays for the souls... (full context)