Supernatural elements of Riders to the Sea

Question: What supernatural elements does J M Synge use in Riders to the Sea?

Or, Supernatural elements of Riders to the Sea


Riders to the Sea (1904) is one of the famous tragedies of English literature created by Irish Literary Renaissance dramatist John Millington Synge (1871-1909). The term supernatural element has been used in tragedies for a long time. This item is a vital feature of a tragedy. As Riders to the Sea is a tragedy, Synge has depicted several supernatural elements in this piece of writing.

Supernatural elements of the play

While reading the tragedy, we can find some mystic elements, such as-

Departure and discovery of Michael’s dead body

There is a sense of supernaturalism in the loss and discovery of Michael’s dead body. It is a matter of wonder how the dead body could float for miles across the sea.

More Notes of Riders to the Sea

Maurya’s superstitious belief 

Another supernatural element is Maurya’s illogical faith about the gloomy scene of the moon rising with the star.

Maurya’s vision

Actually, the protagonist of the play Maurya is a supernatural piece herself. Her vision about the ghost of Michael riding on the grey pony seems to be another supernatural element in this play.

The Holy Water

The Holy Water which Maurya used to collect for the welfare of her family and which she scatters over the dead body of Bartley before the funeral.

The title of the play

The title of the play itself has a smell of supernaturalism. It refers to two riders- one is Bartley, who is alive and the other is Michael, who is dead.

The Sea

From a sense, the sea is also a supernatural symbol. It symbolizes fate.


Thus, the supernaturalism of the play Riders to the Sea supports to build up the proper tragic atmosphere which is one of terror, mystery, and fatality, and which enables us to taste the taste of the tragic disaster.

SR Sarker
SR Sarker
Articles: 380

Leave a Reply