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The Rising of the Moon Criminal or Patriot - Essay Example

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Sent to arrest an escaped revolutionary, for whom there is a financial reward offered, a policeman finds himself questioning his own values and beliefs as he listens to the persuasive talk and patriotic songs of a man that he at first presumes to be an old ballad singer.
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The Rising of the Moon Criminal or Patriot
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s The Rising of the Moon - Criminal or Patriot Sent to arrest an escaped revolutionary, for whom there is a financial reward offered, a policeman finds himself questioning his own values and beliefs as he listens to the persuasive talk and patriotic songs of a man that he at first presumes to be an old ballad singer.
Set on the quay of an Irish sea-side town in the early nineteen-hundreds, 'The Rising Moon', depicts the struggle of a policeman's conscience when faced with a revolutionary that he is supposed to be arresting.
Persuaded by memories of his own youth and the truth of the man's words, the policeman realizes that if his life had taken different direction it could have been him being the hunted instead of being the hunter. It is this realization that leads him to make the decision to allow the man to escape.

Under The Light of the Moon
Older than his colleagues, wise in his understanding of the probability that their man will try to escape by boat, our policeman has his eye on the reward and the likelihood of promotion in the start of this play. Encouraging his co-workers to do their duty, he sends them off to put up other Wanted posters, while choosing to stay at the quay alone in wait of the revolutionary.
When his man does indeed turn up he is disguised as a ballad singer and the policeman doesn't realize who he is. Claiming to be in town due to the fact that they are holding the assizes, which gives him the opportunity to make some money, the revolutionary tries to get past the policeman but is refused access. It is at this point that he tells the policeman, while pointing at the poster of the wanted man, that he knows who the revolutionist is.
Fear is the first factor that the man uses to enforce his plan to get past the policeman, which persuades the policeman to allow him to stay. "There's not a weapon he doesn't know the use of," he says, "and as to strength, his muscles are as hard as that board." ('The Rising Moon', p. 907). And the second is complicity.
".......... There's plenty of room up here on the barrel," he tells the policeman. ('The Rising Moon', p. 907)
And, as they sit together, back-to-back, while smoking their pipes, the man points out the importance of them both working together, watching in opposite directions, while the policeman reflects on his thankless, dangerous job.
When the revolutionist first starts to sing his ballads, the policeman tells him to be quiet, but then changes his mind after the man explains that it lifts his spirit when singing. Within a short time the policeman is discussing the lyrics of the patriotic ballads, obviously well-acquainted with them, and even admitting that he used to sing them with friends. The revolutionist sees his chance.
".... Maybe it's one of the boys you used to be singing with that time you will be arresting today or tomorrow, and sending in the dock," he points out. "And maybe one night, after you'd been singing, if the other boys had told you some plan they had, some plan to free the country, you might have joined with them.........and maybe you might be in trouble now." ('The Rising Moon', p. 908)
The policeman recognizes the truth of the man's words, and the realization cuts him through to the heart. He knows that if he hadn't got married, if he hadn't had a family and joined the police force, then his life could have taken a completely different direction and that what the revolutionary was saying would have been extremely probable.
"Maybe, Sergeant, you'll be on the side of the country yet," the escapee challenges, as they continue their watch. ('The Rising Moon', p. 909)
A little while later, on hearing the sound of oars, the revolutionist sings the ballad that is a signal and suddenly the policeman realizes that the man before him is in fact the man that he has been waiting to capture. "It's a pity. It's a pity," he repeats, as he accepts his mistake, while admitting that the man had easily deceived him. ('The Rising Moon', p. 909)
Although the policeman does try to stick to his duty, it is evident that his heart is no longer in it. The change in his heart has already taken place. And so, persuaded by memories of spirited youth hood, of patriotic ideals and the realization that his life could have been so much different, he allows the man to leave.
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The Rising Moon, 1904, Lady Gregory. Read More
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