Riders to the Sea Study Guide
Riders to the Sea
1. Riders to the Sea was originally a play created by J.M. Synge. The play was adapted into an opera around 1938 by Vaughan Williams. Vaughan Williams had been a nurse in World War I (1914-1918), many years earlier. How do you think Vaughan Williams’s choice to adapt this play into an opera connects with his experience in WWI? Why do you think this opera was chosen to be performed today in 2013?
2. Why do you think Bartley decided to try and take the pony to Connemara, despite his mother’s warnings and concerns?
3.Why was Maurya, the mother, not able to allow herself to give her blessing to Bartley?
4. Since Bartley was said to be pushed off the rocks by Michael upon the grey pony, do you really believe this could be Michael? Was it a ghost? Was it a figment of Maurya’s imagination?
5. Do you think that Mauyra showed favoritism of one daughter over the other? Why or why not?
6. Please compare and contrast the lifestyle of the Aran Islands or the story of Riders to the Sea to your own life. Can you find any similarities?
7. Since Riders to the Sea is a one act play, why do you think it was paired with The Deserted Island? What was a connection between the two acts?
8. What do you think will happen to the family now that the last male has died?