Riders to the Sea


J. M. Synge

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The Young Priest Character Analysis

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 son living. This promise turns out to be false, which is no surprise to Maurya—she does not believe that that Catholic Church understands the power of the sea. The priest represents the waning of Maurya’s Catholic belief and the powerlessness of God and the Catholic Church to intervene against the sea on behalf of the islanders.

The Young Priest Quotes in Riders to the Sea

The Riders to the Sea quotes below are all either spoken by The Young Priest or refer to The Young Priest. 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

“I won’t stop him,” says he, “but let you not be afraid. Herself does be saying prayers half through the night, and the Almighty God won’t leave her destitute,” says he, “with no son living.”

Related Characters: Nora (speaker), Maurya, Bartley, The Young Priest
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:
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Riders to the Sea PDF

The Young Priest Character Timeline in Riders to the Sea

The timeline below shows where the character The Young Priest appears in Riders to the Sea. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
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 has given her containing a shirt and stocking from a drowned man in Donegal who... (full context)
Spirituality and Mourning Theme Icon
Fate and Mortality Theme Icon
...believing that this is an omen of death for Bartley, and Nora clings to the young priest ’s promise that God would not leave Maurya destitute. (full context)