How do Nora and Cathleen become sure about the clothes of Michael

Question: How do Nora and Cathleen become sure about the clothes of Michael?


Nora and Cathleen, two daughters of Maurya, are part and parcel of the structural design of the drama Riders to the Sea (1904) by John Millington Synge (1871-1909). They are severely juxtaposed as individuals. They play a very important part in the action of the drama.


Once in the play, Nora and Cathleen open the bundle of some clothes. Among the dresses, they compare a shirt with a shirt sleeve already in the house. They find that both of the shirts are made of same woolen. But they console themselves that this cannot prove the death of Michael as the shirt of the same woolen could have been worn by any other sailor who had failed in fighting with the sea.

More Notes Of Riders to the Sea

They start to count the stitches of stocking by Nora. Then they find that this is Michael’s stuff because she finds that the same stitches in the same way that she herself had knitted. She said-

It’s the second one of the third pair I knitted, and I put up three-score stitches, and I dropped four of them.”

Both of them are shattered thinking that how their brother’s dead body was rotting over the sea and none of his family members got a chance to mourn for him. Nora laments that how a great sailor and fisherman like him has got such a terrible ending, whose presence could be proved only by an old shirt and a plain stocking.


Thus, Nora and Cathleen sure themselves about the clothes of Michael. Actually, both of the sisters remain as part of the action, sorrowing for their brothers and providing for Maurya in her sorrow. Their actions in the play reflect those of the Greek fates.

SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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