Characters' Reactions to Death in Riders to the Sea Essay example

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Characters' Reactions to Death in Riders to the Sea In "Riders to the Sea" several reactions to the death of Michael take place when each of the individual characters learn of the tragedy and express their grief. The first, which would most naturally occur, is for someone to become extremely pessimistic. The character Mauyra most obviously becomes pessimistic even while she is still not sure of the fate of her son. Even the idea of Bartley leaving to sell the horses makes her nervous, she’s afraid of losing her last son. Her pessimism is obvious when she says, "It’s hard set we’ll be surely the day you’re drownd’d with the rest. What way will I live and the girls with me, and I an old woman looking for the grave." Mauyra is…show more content…
Upon closer inspection the inevitable truth rears its ugly head, Cathleen counts the stitches and realizes that "it’s that number in it." The sad truth is that, no matter how optimistic people tend to be in the face of death, the hope that they hold onto cannot last forever in the face of grim facts. Finally, the most common and predictably male reaction, is denial. For Bartley the possible death of his brother will not stop him from doing what needs to be done by the man of the house. Bartley’s life doesn’t have time to stop for grief, he must deal with manly issues like making sure his sheep don’t jump in the rye and that pigs don’t eat his rope. Bartley, however, does realize that life does not stop for everyone just because it did for Michael. Money must be made, for that reason Bartley decides, "I must go now quickly…the fair will be a good fair for the horses." For Bartley, the death of

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