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In The Playboy of the Western World by J. M. Synge, other characters do mock Shawn for being so devout and unwilling to do anything without permission from the Roman Catholic Church. One cannot conclude automatically that the words of characters in the play express the beliefs of the author; one major aspect of drama as a genre is that the author can present conflicting points of view without taking sides.
Synge himself was born into the Protestant ascendency, in other words, an upper class Protestant family, in part associated with the English centre of power with the Dublin `pale`. In the 19th century, the Irish Protestants often mocked the Roman Catholics for being dominated by their priests and superstitious, and so the mockery of Shawn makes the point that although some Irish Catholics were very pious, others were less so, and thus goes against the Protestant stereotypical thinking about the Irish of western ireland.
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