Playboy of the Western World

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A comedy by Synge, performed and published 1907.

Christy Mahon, ‘a slight young man, very tired and frightened’, arrives at a village in Mayo. He gives out that he is a fugitive from justice, who has killed his bullying father, splitting him to the chine with a single blow. His character as a dare‐devil gives him a great advantage with the women (notably Pegeen Mike and Widow Quin). But admiration gives place to angry contempt when the father himself arrives in pursuit of the fugitive, who has merely given him a crack on the head and run away. The implication that Irish peasants would condone a murder and the frankness of some of the language caused outrage and riots when the play was first performed at the Abbey Theatre. This play is Synge's best known effort to fuse the language of ordinary people with a dramatic rhetoric of his own making.

Subjects: Literature.

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John Millington Synge (1871—1909) playwright

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