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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Justify the title of the play The Playboy of the Western World.

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The playwright uses this title to speak to the mythos that is created around Christy as he interacts and forms relationships with the peasant population of the island to the west of Ireland. Christy excels at playing the sports of the island and is also seen as a sort of mythical hero amongst the locals. Christy gains this status through his championing of sport games and of his story of rebellion against his father.

Christy's importance among the locals of the island is rooted in his status within a mythological context. Christy is viewed through an almost fantastical lens by the peasants, and this lens supports his status as a "playboy". The "western world" in this play refers to the islands directly west of the main island of Ireland, where the people are considered to be more in touch with their roots and less affected by christian colonization.

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