The Rising of the Moon Questions and Answers
by Isabella Augusta Persse

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In The Rising of the Moon, what is the theme of the play?

One of the main themes of The Rising of the Moon is the subversion of national identity by colonialism. In the play, the Sergeant has subverted his own Irish identity in order to enforce British colonial rule as a police officer. The Ragged Man reminds him of this lost identity by singing the Irish nationalist ballad of Granuaile.

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This play by Lady Gregory explores the theme of loyalty and betrayal. The police sergeant is placed with the difficult decision of whether he should be loyal to England, as his job obligates him to be, or to the Irish republic that challenges English rule. This theme is gradually revealed to the audience, which initially believes that the sergeant’s goal is to apprehend the escaped prisoner and earn the monetary benefit of the attached reward. The two men are presented as antagonists before they even meet. When he does meet the escapee, he does not know it, as the ragged man offers assistance. As they converse, the sergeant develops a rapport with him, in part through his singing. An important element that helps bring them together is their fondness for the same song.

As the play develops, therefore, the audience learns that the sergeant is loyal to the sentiments the song expresses: Irish independence. Because of his Irish heritage, he cannot bring himself to turn in the escapee. The...

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sakibperveze99 | Student

The theme of this play is the same as the title of a song the ragged man sings - "Rising of the Moon".

 

The ragged man tells sergeant that had he not joined the force, he could have been a rebel for cause of ireland because sergeant was also from ireland and its obvious that he hasnt forgotten his roots.

Sergeant passes up the chance for what he considers a better cause.