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This play is, on one level, a sociological/psychological examination of the phenomenon of "reputation," often based on hearsay and exaggeration rather than fact. Christy's public profile, based on the rumor that he is a visiting celebrity and a tough guy from the cosmopolitan part of Ireland, plays well in rustic, rural "Western World" culture, where the local tavern patrons are impressed by any traveler from a more "exotic" environment. Christy then enters the local athletic contests and is "reputed" to have violently freed himself from the automatic paternal domination of his family by killing his father, an act seen as "romantic" in the abstract, but much too real in the present, when his father re-appears and is again assaulted by Christy. His "reputation," then, is a product of the community's perception of him, not of actual deeds. This coupled with the (again) imagined romantic duel between the women of the village, gives his character its "dramatic arch."
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