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

Start Free Trial

Why does the character of the Playboy appeal to you?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Are you referring to a character in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"? Because the only character I think comes close is Egeus-- who is more of a "reformed bachelor" than anything else.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Ultimately, how you answer this question is up to you.  What do you like about Mahon?  What about him makes you identify with him?  Does he make you laugh?  Cry?  Does he help you recognize something about yourself or others you know? 

Is his willingness to accept credit for a morbid deed, then his cowardice when his father shows up, comparable to your experience in the world?  Is this an accurate critique of machismo and morbidity, not only in the character of the Playboy, but also in the townspeople, as well?

Personally, I love the play much more than the character of the Playboy, himself.  I see his representation as a critique of society.  But that may be completely different for you. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I had a favorite class in college that included work by J.M. Synge and his relatively straightforward presentation of his characters was probably one of my favorite things about his style.  The fact that the characters really seem to respond the way people I know might with all their oddities and sometimes crudities intact is in a way refreshing if you are used to more idealized characters.  At the time, and as others in the post below mentioned, audiences were at certain times offended by the very realistic and somewhat explicit way that the characters responded to things.  So it isn't always for everyone, but I tend to think it is a valuable part of Synge's work.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial