The “moon” in the title of Lady Gregory’s play has both literal and symbolic meaning and thus is an important element of the title. Furthermore, the idea of “rising” is related to the specific action that occurs within the play and the broader concept of “uprising” as political resistance. Therefore, both elements of the title are very appropriate to the play’s content and the larger context in which they author wrote it.
On the literal level, the action occurs overnight. The sergeant watches the moon rise, and while he does so, he comes into contact with the ragged man. The physical setting and interaction between the men soon connects thematically with the idea of Irish nationalism. The feelings that resurface in the sergeant and the larger question of political resistance are both embodied in the “rising” metaphor.