Similarity and Dissimilarity Between Riders to the Sea and Classical Play

Discussion about the similarity and dissimilarity between Riders to the Sea and Classical play.

 After researching and thinking deeply about the play we can say that, there are a large number of similarities and dissimilarities between ‘Riders to the Sea’ and ‘the classical plays’. According to the playwrights the play Riders to the Sea can be called as a Modern Greece Play because all of the characteristics of classical play have been followed fully in this play. 

Three unities which are the most common characteristic of classical play have been followed fully in this play. The breath of this play is only a day which is called unity of time.

The play starts from the kitchen of Maurya which is situated besides the sea and the play also ends in the kitchen. So, unity of place is also contained in this play. Unity of action is also observed here because we know about the death of Barltly from an unknown woman but it is not staged.  

Chorus, a group of person who give much information of the present, past and future to the audience to increase the play, is a part and parcel of classical plays. It is truth that there is no separate existence of chorus but if we think deeply; we can say Nora, Cathleen and even Maurya play an important role of chorus in this play. From a low voice of Maurya we know that she had a husband and a husband’s father, and six sons in her house. Some of them were found and some of them were not found but they were gone.   

 Another characteristic of classical play is that the main action is not staged. In similarly here the major action is not staged. Here we do not see the dead body of Bartley but we only know it from an unknown woman.

Irony of fate is another part of classical play. Nobody can avoid it even Oedipus and Bartley also do not escape from fate when Oedipus knew from an astrologer he would kill his father and marry his mother he tried to escape from this fate by hiding but he did not. Here, Bartley also does not escape from his fate.   

On the other hand, like similarities there are also some dissimilarity between the classical play and Riders to the Sea.

Firstly, Classical plays should have chorus but there is no existence of chorus in this play. Nora, Cathleen, Maurya are the separate character of the play. The main characteristic of the chorus is that the chorus will totally be disconnected from the play but Nora, Cathleen and Maurya are not separated from the play, even they are related inseparably.  

Secondly, classic play must have a hamartia or tragic flaw of the tragic hero but there is no any tragic flaw or hamartia in this play.

Thirdly, the tragic hero of classic play should be very powerful. For an example, Oedipus was a king and national hero but Nora, Bartley, Mourya and Cathleen are general people.

Fourthly, tragic hero should have a noble birth but the tragic hero of the play does not have a noble birth. He is a member of a poor family. 

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