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Despite its very specific localized mise-en-scene in rural, agricultural western Ireland, and despite its age (1911), this play still speaks to at least three universal and contemporary themes: the sexual attraction of other-ness, strangeness, newness into a well-known, comfortable setting; the natural desire of one generation to oppose the hegemony of another; and the optimism of the Prodigal Son motif. Christie Mahon’s appeal to the villagers is his foreignness, the mystery he brings with him just because he has had a different upbringing from the girls, Pegeen Mike and the Widow Quin; the exposition of the play, the purported killing of his “da”, provides the dramatic turning to comedy when his father shows up, and serves to remind us all that generations must move away from parental influences; and the eventual reconciliation of father and son, all hold relevance to today (and remember that that entire play has a symbolic Christian value, built on the clue in his name: “Christie Mahon.” Without reducing the play to a metaphor, we can discern the value of its story to contemporary society.
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