The Playboy of the Western World

Playboy of the Western World: Synge's View of Irish identity 12th Grade

Prior to the release of Synge’s work Playboy of the Western World, Ireland was typically depicted as an orderly and civilized nation in its prized literature. What made Synge’s play stand out from other theatrical productions was its portrayal of Ireland as a tainted, morally depraved place, but what was Synge’s purpose in disrupting theater norms and angering his audience? In reading Playboy of the Western World and Declan Kiberd's article from The Guardian on Synge's work, readers can see that Synge paints a negative thematic landscape that showcases the true grime of the Irish to reveal their underlying savage nature.

In Playboy, Synge has his main character commit a wrongful deed only to be celebrated by those around him in order to illuminate the depravity of the Irish identity. In the story, Christy, the main character, murders his father and brags about his crime to others. Christy counterintuitively finds himself not only welcomed, but also adored in County Mayo for killing his father. He reflects on his newfound good fortune: “two fine women fighting for the likes of me - till I’m thinking this night wasn’t I a foolish fellow not to kill my father in years gone by” (Synge, 131). The author’s choice to make women...

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