The Playboy of the Western World by J. M. Synge

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Discuss J.M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World as a dark comedy.

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Dark comedies tend to skirt the boundaries separating the comedic from the tragic. The critical and often commercial success of films like Fargo, MASH, In Bruges, Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, and the cult classic Donnie Darko, lies in their ability to mine humor from macabre or otherwise dramatic or tragic situations. There is nothing funny about the prospects of nuclear war, but director Stanley Kubrick and screenwriter Terry Southern managed to make one of the most critically acclaimed comedies in the history of film about precisely that scenario. In Fargo, a kidnapping gone awry and the subsequent series of murders that follow hardly constitutes the stuff from which comedy is generally born. The point of so-called dark comedies, however, is precisely the humor that can be derived from even the most horrific of situations.

Author and playwright John Millington (J.M.) Synge was able to find humor in the impoverished communities of turn-of-the-century...

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