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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Why does Christy Mahon in The Playboy of the Western World claim he killed his father?

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In The Playboy of the Western World by J. M. Synge, when Christy Mahon initially appears, he is exhausted, confused, and terrified of being arrested. He is not thinking particularly clearly, and begins by asking if police regularly visit the pub. That arouses the curiosity of the villagers and makes them enquire as to what he has to fear from the police. Christy's account of killing his father is only elicited from him gradually, and under pressure. It is only once he does admit to it, and finds that his auditors are rather impressed by his courage, that he becomes comfortable boasting of the act.

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