The Playboy of the Western World by John Millington Synge

The Playboy of the Western World

byJohn Millington Synge

Kobo ebook | November 27, 2011

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In writing THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD, as in my other plays, I have used one or two words only that I have not heard among the country people of Ireland, or spoken in my own nursery before I could read the newspapers. A certain number of the phrases I employ I have heard also from herds and fishermen along the coast from Kerry to Mayo, or from beggar-women and ballad-singers nearer Dublin; and I am glad to acknowledge how much I owe to the folk imagination of these fine people. Anyone who has lived in real intimacy with the Irish peasantry will know that the wildest sayings and ideas in this play are tame indeed, compared with the fancies one may hear in any little hillside cabin in Geesala, or Carraroe, or Dingle Bay. All art is a collaboration; and there is little doubt that in the happy ages of literature, striking and beautiful phrases were as ready to the story-teller's or the playwright's hand, as the rich cloaks and dresses of his time. It is probable that when the Elizabethan dramatist took his ink-horn and sat down to his work he used many phrases that he had just heard, as he sat at dinner, from his mother or his children
Title:The Playboy of the Western WorldFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:November 27, 2011Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:2819930565

ISBN - 13:9782819930563

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Lacking that Spark I've never been able to decide if Playboy of the Western World is outdated, prescient or timely and timeless.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 (literally). But Christy's Da shows up alive, having only been wounded by his son, and all those fooled by Christy's story turn on him. Christy's answer, the only way he figures he can get his friends back, is to finish the job on his Da, and he gives it a whirl. The attempt on Old Mahon is convincing enough to put Christy's neck in a noose because none of Flaherty's patrons want to get in trouble for aiding and abetting Christy. Just when it looks like Christy's going to die, however, Old Mahon, with as many lives as Rasputin, absurdly stumbles to his feet and saves his son. So, of course, father and son take off to see the world together, and Pegeen is left to lament the one she let get away. John Millington Synge's play is generally considered one of the Irish greats, even Yeats was a fan, and I certainly appreciate it in dribs and drabs, but it's a bit too ridiculous to really make me a firm fan. I love much of Christy's dialogue, I think the play's violence works (even if Old Mahon's imperviousness doesn't), and the Irishness of this very Irish play is a huge plus, but I've never really felt a spark when I've read this play. And that spark didn't appear when I saw it on stage either. I find the pacing a bit trying because large portions of Synge's play simply bore me. It's all subjective, I suppose, but I'd sure love to see a strong staging of Playboy of the Western World. Maybe that would change my mind.
Date published: 2010-03-20