John Millington Synge Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

While John Millington Synge has been celebrated for his voice, vision, and original contributions to the world stage, readers should keep in mind the literary task that he set for himself. Synge saw himself first and foremost as a realist, a writer rebelling against romantic conventions that he felt robbed literature of its immediacy and importance. In his preface to The Playboy of the Western World, he argues that “On stage one must have reality, and one must have joy; and that is why the intellectual modern drama has failed, and people have grown sick of the false joy of the musical comedy, that has been given them in place of the rich joy found only in what is superb and wild in reality.” He saw himself as rebelling against the dramatic conventions of his day, and he was steadfast in his determination that drama should mirror lives as they are lived.