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The Playboy of the Western World

J. M. Synge

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .CHRISTY — [loudly, scandalized.] — Do you take me for a slaughter-boy?

PEGEEN. You never hanged him, the way Jimmy Farrell hanged his dog from the license, and had it screeching and wriggling three hours at the butt of a string, and himself swearing it was a dead dog, and the peelers swearing it had life?

CHRISTY. I did not then. I just riz the loy and let fall the edge of it on the ridge of his skull, and he went down at my feet like an empty sack, and never let a grunt or groan from him at all.

MICHAEL — [making a sign to Pegeen to fill Christy's glass.] — And what way weren't you hanged, mister? Did you bury him then?

CHRISTY — [considering.] Aye. I buried him then. Wasn't I digging spuds in the field?

MICHAEL. And the peelers never followed after you the eleven days that you're out?

CHRISTY — [shaking his head.] — Never a one of them, and I walking forward faci. . . Read More

Community Reviews

a narcissistic and a possessive father who is envious
of his son
growing independence.
Mahon's (the father ) conviction is that Christy (the son) is and ALWAYS be a fool, liar and a dribbling idiot who is beaten into submission

he couldn't believe then that his son could be that likely man or that c...more

I read this play in anticipation of seeing it performed at the Teatro Nacional D. Maria II in Lisbon. I do not speak more than a dozen or so words of Portuguese (Obrigada, cafe com leite, vegetariano, etc.), so I needed the head start. Unfortunately, I am not able to comment on the dramaturgical...more

Synge's The Playboy of the Western World must be an Irish classic.

Set in County Mayo during the early 1900s, Synge tells the story of Christy Mahon, traveler escaping psuedo-mysterious past and claiming he killed his father, his Da.

I think that in the context of the Irish culture exploration, t...more

This play becomes more and more fascinating upon rereading it. J.M. Synge came from a Protestant, Anglo-Irish background, and wrote a play about Irish country life that shocked and offended its audiences to the point of riots- many would say rightly so. It utilizes dramatic Irish stereotypes that...more

I (naively) had no idea this was a play before I read it. It was fun to read its script, although I’m certain watching the play is much more entertaining. The writing threw me off because it was very poetic and it used a lot of Irish phrases I barely understood. After doing some research I now kn...more

To say that it is better to see a play than to read it seems obvious. But the hearing of the play, the words, the dialogue, the accents, the intonations, that's what brings the play to life. That's especially true with this play because the distinct language and delivery is really the star of the...more

A young man from a far away village appears in Flaherty's tavern claiming that he is on the run because he killed his own father. With the tale growing in the telling, the Christy becomes a local hero, attracting Flaherty's daughter Pegeen's attention…until his father shows up and is very much al...more

How can I help but love Ireland? For example, how can you not love a nation that values both popular theater and “Irish womanhood” so highly that a new comedy—with “scandalous” depictions of Irish women--can cause a riot? And, no, I don’t mean a “laugh riot.” I mean a real honest-to-Jesus in-the-...more

This play caused riots back in the day and its celebration of the benefits of patricide might still raise plenty of eyebrows today. It took me a while to get accustomed to the mix of rural Irish dialect and poetic phrases, but there's a real richness to the language once you're properly immersed....more

I am glad that I both listened and read this play. This full cast recording by L.A. Theatre Works was excellent, but didn't include stage directions or descriptions. It is a radio play rather than an audiobook in that regard. I loved hearing the Irish accented voices but I would have missed a lit...more

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