By Eugene Benson (auth.)
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While the conclusion of 'The Dead' is richly ambiguous about the outcome of this journey, there is nothing ambiguous about the outcome of Synge's passage to the Aran Islands. Yeats catches wonderfully the inevitability that links Synge's genius and the Aran Islands: long travelling, he had come Towards nightfall among certain set apart In a most desolate stony place, Towards nightfall upon a race Passionate and simple like his heart. '} The conversation referred to took place in July 1897 when he, Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn discussed the feasibility of founding an Irish theatre.
Later he discovers that his wife who comes from the West of Ireland (like Nora, Joyce's wife) still loves Michael Furey of Galway. Furey is clearly associated with a Gaelic culture. At the story's 32 A Passage to the A ran Islands close Conroy has come to see the futility of his life and he resolves that he too must make a journey to the West of Ireland. ' While the conclusion of 'The Dead' is richly ambiguous about the outcome of this journey, there is nothing ambiguous about the outcome of Synge's passage to the Aran Islands.
Before the opening of the Abbey Theatre the Irish dramatists had only the most primitive of stage facilities. Both The Shadow of the Glen and Riders to the Sea, for example, were produced at the Molesworth Hall which seated an audience of 300. The stage was small- a 17-foot proscenium with a depth of 12 feet. Since the hall was rented, it meant that rehearsals had to be held elsewhere, a great disadvantage. Miss A. E. Horniman's purchase of the Abbey Theatre marked an important step in the development of facilities that would enhance the work of the Abbey dramatists.