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The Playboy of the Western World

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  2,887 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
He gave a drive with the scythe, and I gave a lep to the east. Then I turned around with my back to the north, and I hit a blow on the ridge of his skull, laid him stretched out, and he split to the knob of his gullet.
Paperback, 68 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1907)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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 champion playboy
Christy's reaction to this oppression is by killing his father and fleeing after
till the last scene the father feel the need to control
and ask his son to come with him Home
Jun 09, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it
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-mysetrious past and claiming he killed his father, his Da. I think that in the context of the Irish culture exploration, this is a fundamental element. His hosts become instant admirers for his romanticism, or at least their idea of his romanticism and I think it is here that Synge delivers his message, the longing, lost na
Jun 04, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama, saw-it-onstage
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 complexities of translating a play from early 20th century Irish dialect to modern Portuguese, but I can tell you that the actors did a fine job and my husband and I enjoyed the production immensely.

Feb 28, 2016 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, audiobooks
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 little of the experience if I hadn't had a print copy.
Jeff Jackson
Jul 04, 2011 Jeff Jackson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theater
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. Synge described his play as somewhere between 'comedy, tragedy, and extravaganza' which nicely sums up its constantly shifting emotional tones and dramatic registers, ultimately the work's strongest sui ...more
Jul 31, 2016 Tomo20 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
This was a stranger play than I expected. Growing up in Ireland it was always vaguely in the background as one of the famous pieces of the country's literary history. I somehow managed to translate that into worthy and probably quite dull.

The play in fact is almost surreal and certainly not dull. There are serious points made in it, with references to poverty, colonialism, social inequality and above all the claustrophobic nature of parochialism and how dangerous mob rule can be. However there
Karen Ravn
Well. I liked this a lot more than I thought I would!
I'm not usually interested in plays, I don't really like reading them, but this was pretty interesting.
This is a really good play to read/see (if that is at all possible) if you are interested in and/or studying celtic history/culture or medieval history as the parallels drawn are pretty interesting in that regard.
That was probably why I liked it, I'm studying celtic (and english literature) so it was pretty interesting to see the analysis of
Jun 13, 2013 Cbj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exchange between Pegeen and Shawn at the beginning of the The Playboy of the Western World establishes that the village on the wild coast of Mayo is a dull and dreary place. Pegeen chides her suitor Shaneed by saying:
“It’s a wonder, Shaneen, the Holy Father’d be taking notice of the likes of you; for if I was him I wouldn’t bother with this place where you’ll meet none but Red Linahan, has a squint in his eye, and Patcheen is lame in his heel, or the mad Mulrannies were driven from California
Kanwal Mukhtar
May 13, 2013 Kanwal Mukhtar rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I've never been able to decide if Playboy of the Western World is outdated, prescient or timely. If it is timely then I think it would have to be timeless.

Christy Mahon comes to Flaherty's Pub and charms the punters and barmaid Pegeen Mike (the daughter of owner Mike Flaherty) with the story of how he killed his father. Christy can tell a tale, so he charms the pants off the regulars (figuratively) and Pegeen (damn near literally).

But Christy's Da shows up alive, having only been wounded by his
Jun 16, 2016 Tom rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one. Thematically, it reminded me of R.K. Narayan's "The Guide." Both have characters in absurd situations that force them to become a person that they do not think they are. I guess, without spoilers, that about sums it up.
Mar 05, 2008 Emily rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who enjoy studying Modernism, those who love the Irish
Shelves: theater, grad
This play got a 2-3 when I read it and a 3-4 after we discussed it in class. The dialogue is rich and in Synge's approximation of the Irish vernacular. He combined Anglo-Irish vocabulary with Gaelic syntax and it turned out beautifully. The play is a comedy on the surface but the moral and political undertones incited riots in theatre-goers in the early 1900s. In the spirit of realism and with a great love and reverence for his own Irish people, Synge told it like he saw it - stubborn, hyper-rel ...more
Todd Stockslager
Apr 04, 2016 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Review Title: On the edge of something more

This short play was written by Irish native Synge after compatriot W. B Yeats suggest he visit the Aran Islands just off the West Coast of Ireland's Galway Bay. The next landfall to the west is the new world of the North American continent. This geographic position on the fringe of the "Western World" as the knew it, plus the ironic nickname of "the playboy" for a shy runaway farm hand yields an easily misunderstood title to a play as easily misundersto
Jun 11, 2015 §-- rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
In 2013, it was reported that 4 female Baltimore prison guards were pregnant by the same man--an inmate. Two of these women had his name tattooed on them. Thirteen female prison officers allegedly committed racketeering with inmates.

Charles Manson not only was surrounded by beautiful women in the 1960s, but is today married to an attractive woman half a century younger than he.

Jeffrey Dahmer received love letters from women all over the country while he was on trial.

These are just some of the mo
Kate Uni
Jan 10, 2015 Kate Uni rated it liked it
Shelves: school-books
I read this for an Irish Drama class and learned a little about the history surrounding this piece, but none of the emotions. I don't really understand why precisely there were riots when this play was first performed, but to each their own. I don't know what the emotions of the time were and therefore cannot understand the motivations for the riots.

That being said, after reading this piece I'm left with a lot of questions.

1. Did Christy attempt to murder his father the second time for the same
Feb 20, 2011 Stuart rated it it was amazing
What is there not to love about this play? Funny, dangerously satirical, romantic and oddly poignant, this is almost an Irish COLD COMFORT FARM it's so deft in its characterizations and sly winks at the audience. As much fun to read as it would be to watch, it's the kind of play you wish was performed more often with the caliber of talent that would really bring it to life. A must for lovers of drama and/or the Emerald Isle.
A Confession :I changed the rating from a 4 to a 5 because, days after reading the play, and after narrating it to my Mum on our morning walk talkathon session, I realised that I love this play! It's undoubtedly my favourite tragicomedy so far!

Aristotle described tragicomedy as a story which may end happily for some and in sadness for others. This play fits in this definition as perfectly as a glove!

To avoid spoilers, I'm leaving the comic elements for the readers to discover and enjoy! The
Sep 20, 2015 Hayley rated it really liked it
(If you could rate with half-stars, I would rate this 4.5/5)

I enjoyed THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD even more so than Synge's IN THE SHADOW OF THE GLEN, for its characters and its plot were all the more rounded, exciting and eventful. The character of Christy reminded me somewhat of Dorian Gray, in his vain episodes (perhaps Synge nodding to Wilde?), and the plot was one of uniqueness and unpredictability. The only reasons I didn't rate 5 stars are a) as with SHADOW, I am little in the know a
Mar 13, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: school
I love this era of Irish literature. Synge I believe embodied exactly what Ireland needed at the time. Even though Yeats and Gregory were writing of heroes I think that this version of the hero is twisted enough to be perfect for the time.

It's funny and even though a little difficult to read with the inverted Gaelic/English syntax it had going on, it's a great play! The dripping satire is something that makes the play great. The absurdist that comes with this period of Irish writing is just grea
Jan 24, 2016 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pegeen Mike is harranguing her father about leaving her alone as he and his friends leave for a wake, when Christy Mahon wanders in and claims he has murdered his father. The town people take him in, and he becomes a hero, or The Playboy of the Western World until his father shows up. Pegeen Mike falls in love with him over the mousy Shawn Keough she is to marry. The humor and the language is fabulous. This play incited riots because the audience didn't like how it portrayed the Irish. Delightfu ...more
Jul 31, 2012 Josh rated it really liked it
Playful and wonderfully irreverent, I can honestly understand why it would have been despised by certain audiences when it was published. Its central focus of a young man who is praised by a community for allegedly killing his father with a shovel is certainly one that would have been looked upon with an arched eyebrow, as it is even today. But taking the seriousness of it away (which the play itself does quite quickly) and you are left with a wonderfully rich portrayal of Irish life (albeit fan ...more
Nov 30, 2011 Daniel rated it it was ok
I always wondered if Irish folk musician Christopher Moore was given the nickname Christy by his mother Nancy due to the very namesake of this play.

There were actual riots that occurred out in the streets of Dublin following the opening performance of this play since the thing was based on a story of an apparent patricide. The Patricide then irritated, or at the very least tweaked, the longstanding dogma of the sensible Irish, causing them to riot.**

Had I been around in the day keeping my dogma
This play is in a class all of its own. The language is quite remarkable. I read somewhere that Synge directly transposed from the Irish Gaelic into English. This would explain the unorthdox use of the continuous present form where standard English would use the simple present, and the absence of the words "yes" and "no" which is characteristic of all Celtic languages, Goedelic and Brythonic, and which explains why to this day, even as usually thrid generation monolingual English speakers, Irish ...more
David Campton
Sep 16, 2012 David Campton rated it it was ok
Let's get this clear from the outset... I have never really understood this play, nor the reaction to it... whether that be the violent riots it provoked when first staged by the Abbey in Dublin, or the widespread adulation it seems to garner from Irish theatrical cognoscenti... Some of the language in the play is wonderful, and there are some very amusing scenes, but it just doesn't hold together for me. If it has any theatrical value I think it is as an historical artefact, standing between th ...more
Dec 02, 2010 Martina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish
What a cunning, and weird play... I have now read two Irish plays and liked them both, there is something in the simple settings and even simpler events that mesmerises me from start to finish.

I would say that there is something different in all Irish boys, they have it through their history! In a Swedish play like "Miss Julie" you would find a simple plot, but it simply cannot be compared to an Irish one.

Christy Mahon is the ideal Irish man, to me a hero, a handsome, courageous and under it al
Christopher Sanderson
Jul 22, 2014 Christopher Sanderson rated it really liked it
I bought this on the back of a few words on a poster in a Dublin bookstore. I have only read it the once, and promised myself on finishing it that I would go back and explain it to myself. I haven't done that yet, but I am reading Ghost Light by Joseph O'Connor which is giving a few insights. I have a feeling that Synge will be with me for some time, only my own inabilities to take it all in prevents me giving it 5 stars… that may change in the fullness of time.
Sep 20, 2015 Eliza rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I read this for a course on the Irish Literary Revival & Irish Modernism. It is a play that, at the time, raised a lot of riots and protests. I can see why, although I think it is a wonderful play. It clearly shows the differences between the idea of violence and the actual action of violence. It shows how hypocrisy dominates a lot of people. It shows how heroism is very relative. It is a very good play and leaves one with a lot to think about!
Jun 16, 2015 Hannah rated it liked it
This play is challenging to read, not only because of the Irish dialect but also because its "comedy" is highly performative and thus doesn't translate well to the page. Synge condemns myriad institutions--marriage, the family, the Church--and playfully explores social values (such as patricide and parricide), but I think his medium is best suited to an active (rather than textual) experience.
Nynne Romme
Jan 28, 2015 Nynne Romme rated it liked it
Interesting read, but a good background knowledge of British colonial propaganda makes it a lot better. It is a play that doesn't lend itself to easy entertainment, at least not after the first act, and to really enjoy it, I believe that you have to make an effort to analyse and interpret exactly why Synge would choose to write it.
Sep 01, 2016 CAG_1337 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this overall. I appreciated Synge's work generally speaking, but I think that in the 100 years that have passed since this was written, it has lost its visceral punch. When first staged in Dublin in 1907, this play caused a riot. That is difficult to relate to on anything more than an intellectual level.
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Edmund John Millington Synge (pronounced /sɪŋ/) was an Irish playwright, poet, prose writer, and collector of folklore. He was one of the cofounders of the Abbey Theatre. He is best known for the play The Playboy of the Western World, which caused riots during its opening run at the Abbey theatre. Synge wrote many well known plays, including "Riders to the Sea", which is often considered to be his ...more
More about J.M. Synge...

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“If the mitred bishops seen you that time, they'd be the like of the holy prophets, I'm thinking, do be straining the bars of Paradise to lay eyes on the Lady Helen of Troy, and she abroad, pacing back and forward, with a nosegay in her golden shawl.” 0 likes
“Isn't there the light of seven heavens in your heart alone, the way you'll be an angel's lamp to me from this out, and I abroad in the darkness, spearing salmons in the Owen, or the Carrowmore?” 0 likes
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