What is the main source of irony in J. M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World?
The main theme of the play that lends it a potent sense of irony is the sense of drama and import of the title as it pertains to the world of the play. The idea that there is a singular "playboy" for the entire "Western World" echoes the sense that the inhibitants of the small village see only the small provincial nature of their own community, and do not realize that their visitor "the playboy" is only exotic and charismatic because he is not one of their own. He represents the wider world which most of them will never see, and when he departs after his brief visit, Pegeen laments his loss saying "I've lost him surely! I've lost the only Playboy of the Western World!" She does not realize the world is full of young men like Christy, and the implication is that as long as she stays in the village, she will never understand the limitations of her existence.