Illustration of Christopher Mahon with a noose around his neck and a woman standing in front of him

The Playboy of the Western World

by J. M. Synge

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What accounts for Old Mahon's acceptance of his son at the end of The Playboy of the Western World by J. M. Synge,?

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In The Playboy of the Western World by J. M. Synge, the relationship between Old Mahon and his son Christy Mahon is one that we would now describe as abusive, and possibly based on alcoholism and co-dependency. Old Mahon is portrayed as someone who bullies his son and enjoys the power he holds over the son. He doesn't reject his son at any point but rather travels to recover him. Rather than deploring Christy's having nearly killed him, he may even admire that Christy is becoming more "manly". Part of what made the play so scandalous was the way it portrayed the "western world" as so accepting of casual violence.

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