"The Myth, like the Dream, offers a Story Occurring in space and time, a story which
expresses, in symbolic language, religious and philosophical ideas, experiences of the soul in which the real significance
of the experience lies."
The Forgotten Language by Erich Fromm, page 195
Many of the individual items mentioned in the play Riders to the Sea seem to be symbolic.
We might look to the Latin for amplification of the meaning of sticks and bundles
found in the play.
This quote relates to a discussion of the meaning of the word fascism.
"The word comes from the Latin word “Fasces,” denoting a bundle of sticks tied
together. The individual sticks represented citizens, and the bundle represented the state. The message of this
metaphor was that it was the bundle that was significant, not the individual sticks. If it sounds un-American, it’s
worth knowing that the Roman Fasces appear on the wall behind the Speaker’s podium in the chamber of the US House of
Sticks were used in a ceremonial way in Norse funerals long ago. Their rhythmic beating might
have produced a type of light hypnotic state.
"Hypnotic Strategies...The imagery approach uses analogies, symbols, and metaphors to separate
the subject from his external environment. This approach is effective for use with those patients who resist the command approach...
The imagery approach is effective because it is difficult for a person to resist suggestions he does not know he is consciously
receiving, that is, when the suggestion is disguised in symbolism that only the subconscious mind registers..." (91)
Power of Voice...The most important aspect of any hypnotic induction is the voice of the hypnotist.
The human voice alone
can produce a hypnotic state because the preverbal 'lower' brain remains in awe of 'higher' brain's verbal ability." (91)
MIND MANIPULATION, ANCIENT and MODERN NINJA TECHNIQUES, Dr. Haha Lung and Christopher Prowant, Citadel Press, Kensington
Publishing Corp., New York, NY, 2002
Following are some quotes From Don Quixote that may have similar reference to symbols
and language in the play Riders To The Sea.:
DON QUIXOTE. Part 2, Chapter 50
"May he live a thousand years," said Sanchica, "and the
bearer as many, nay two thousand, if needful."
"Teresa in reply bade them come with her to her house and they would see
the messenger, a most elegant youth, who had brought another present which was worth as much more. The curate took the coral
beads from her neck and examined them again."
Trees and Oak Trees in particular:
"They tell me there are big acorns
in your village; send me a couple of dozen or so, and I shall value them... La Mancha! And as for the acorns, senor, I'll
send her ladyship a peck...I read how a duchess sends to beg for a couple of dozen of acorns."
Rope around the neck in the guise of jewelry?
"It is all for thee, my child," said Teresa;
"but let me wear it round my neck for a few days; for verily it seems to make my heart glad."
A bundle with clothes to
"You will be glad too," said the page, "when you see the bundle there is in this portmanteau, for it is a
suit of the finest cloth, that the governor only wore one day out hunting and now sends, all for Senora Sanchica."
Maurya implores God's mercy:
"God help us," said the curate, "we don't understand you, Teresa, or know what you are talking
The Female Pope or Empress in the Tarot:
"See that rubbish, that garlic-stuffed fellow's daughter, how she
goes stretched at her ease in a coach as if she was a she-pope!' But let them tramp through the mud..."
The long rest:
they say, 'Here, here!' to thee with something good, swallow it.' Oh no! Go to sleep, and don't answer the strokes of good
fortune and the lucky chances that are knocking at the door of your house!"
"Hearing this, the curate said, 'I do
believe that all this family of the Panzas are born with a sackful of proverbs in their insides, every one of them.'"
This may be going out on a limb, but many of the same archetypical symbols in the play and
mythology related to the play, particularly in reference to Celtic and Norse mythology, are also found in The Song of Roland.
Here are a few examples:
"Ten snow-white mules then ordered Marsilie, / Gifts of a king..." (89)
"Give me therefore the wand, also the glove ./ Answers the King: Old man of wisdom pruff;
/ By this white beard..." (248-249)
"Answers the King: Be silent both on bench; / Your feet nor his..." (259-260)
"There will I work a little trickery," (300)
"I'll not love him so long as I'm a man," (323)
"You must receive the holy Christian faith." (431)
"'Greatly you harm our cause,' says the alcaliph;" (453)
The pagan says: "You make me marvel sore / At Charlemagne,
who is so old and hoar;" (537-538)
Says Sarrazin: "My wonder yet is grand / At Charlemagne,
who hoary is and blanched. / Two hundred years and more, I understand, / He has gone forth and conquered many a
"They followed him, right to the
sea they'll fare;" (685)
"Brake from the North tempest and storm in the air;
Then were they drowned, they will no
more appear." (690)
" Charles sleeps on nor wakens from his dream." (724)
"Oger is here, of Denmark;" answers Guenes," (749)
Horses and Men in Rain by Carl Sandburg
Rope- symbolizes deliverance from bondage
Bone- symbol from the Exodus in Genesis