Can Maurya be called an ideal mother with the bitter experiences of life?

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Maurya embodies many elements of the ideal mother, and the bitter experiences of her life largely reinforce that image. Your answer to this question depends on which elements you identify and emphasize. As an individualized character, Maurya is presented sympathetically in many ways, so we can conclude that she is a good mother. As an ideal, you could consider her as an archetype of motherhood. Given Synge’s Irish Catholic upbringing, which figures prominently in his work, it makes sense to understand that vision of motherhood as connected to the Virgin Mary.

In this short one-act play, Maurya’s actions turn on anxiety for her son, Michael, who is feared lost at sea. While she sleeps offstage, other characters quote the village priest’s concerns that if his death is confirmed, “she'll be getting her death . . . with crying and lamenting.” All of this indicates that motherhood is her primary occupation, lending support to the archetype / Mary argument. In some ways, Synge exaggerates that aspect, for Maurya loses not one but six sons.

Maurya is portrayed as sometimes hard on her sons, and in this respect, her behavior can be considered less than ideal. Embittered from losing so many boys to the sea, Maurya does not encourage her last sons. Other characters chide her for speaking harshly to them. She responds by accusing her son Bartley of cruelty: “Isn't it a hard and cruel man won't hear a word from an old woman, and she holding him from the sea?”

At the end of the play, after the sea does take her last son, Maurya understands her identity has shifted, as she is no longer their mother. The power of the sea is broken. “They're all gone now, and there isn't anything more the sea can do to me.” As she resigns herself, she sees that she is released from the weight of that responsibility: “it's a great rest I'll have now, and it's time surely.” The very last lines are Maurya’s, and she calls for God’s blessing on everyone: first on all her dead sons, and then those left alive. “May He have mercy on my soul, Nora, and on the soul of every one is left living in the world.” In this she shows her compassion for others, an important quality in a mother.

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