The Playboy of the Western World by J. M. Synge

The Playboy of the Western World book cover
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Topics for Further Study

(Drama for Students)

Research the movement for home rule in Ireland during the early part of the twentieth century. Explain how the clash between those loyal to England and those who supported Ireland's separation from the British is reflected in the themes of the play.

During the first few decades of the twentieth century, a ‘‘New Woman’’ emerged who rejected the stereotyped roles of the past and demanded equal rights. Investigate whether this movement also appeared in Ireland. Then, analyze Synge's treatment of women in the play. Do they fit stereotypes, or are they reflective of more modern ideas concerning a woman's place?

Read Synge's Riders to the Sea. Analyze the qualities of Irish life and character as depicted in the play and compare this portrait to that of The Playboy of the Western World.

Think about how an American version of the play would be produced. Would the play be able to retain its main themes, or would they have to be tailored to reflect the American character? Write up a scene-by-scene outline of a possible American version.