What are the themes in The Playboy of the Western World by J. M. Synge?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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There are several different  themes in The Playboy of the Western World by J. M. Synge. The first is gender relationships. The women in the play appear in some ways to be stronger than the men, and although admiring strength in men (e.g. Pegeen dumping the weaker Shawn for the stronger Christy) tend to usurp positions of domestic strength. The next theme is how the Roman Catholic Church seems to be complicit in building a passive character (e.g. Shawn). The next theme is how bullying gets passed down through the generation (Christy and his father). Finally, there is the sense that the "western world" is not the place of Celtic tradition and noble natives of popular imagination, but rather that oppression have built a character of cowardice and bullying.


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