THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD
ENGLISH BLOG : THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD
Synge wrote the drama “The Playboy of the Western World” based on a real incident that he had heard from an old man, a native of the Aran Islands.
A man who had killed his father in a rage fled to the island. He begged the natives for help. The natives of the island kept the murderer safe in their island. They even hid him from the police. Later, they shipped the man to America.
A SHORT SUMMARY OF THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD
The play opens in a public-house where liquor is served. A conversation goes on between Pegeen, the daughter of Michael James (the owner of the public-house), and Shawn Keogh. Pegeen was engaged to him.
Since Michael is going to attend a wake, Pegeen will have to spend the night alone. She is reluctant to do so. This is because some unscrupulous fellow roamed about at night in this part of the country. But Shawn refuses to spend the night alone with Pegeen.
THE ARRIVAL OF CHRISTOPHER MAHON IN THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD
A stranger whom Shawn had seen in the ditch earlier in the evening now enters the shebeen. He is a young man. He tells that the police are looking for him. This is because he had committed a serious crime. He had a quarrel with his father, an ill-tempered man. He had hit his old father with a spade. The old man had fallen dead in the potato-field. Everybody present in the shebeen is greatly impressed by this young man’s action.
At Pegeen’s suggestion this young man, whose name is Christopher Mahon is employed in the shebeen as a pot-boy or a waiter.
PEGEEN ADMIRES CHRISTY
Pegeen is full of admiration for Christy. She says now she would not feel afraid of the villainous soldiers.
Pegeen praises Christy for the bravery he has shown by killing his father. She even says Christy has descended from some aristocratic family.
WIDOW QUIN TRIES TO TAKE AWAY CHRISTY TO HER OWN HOUSE IN THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD
Christy starts to feel quite at home. He had walked for eleven days to escape the police. But Widow Quin enters and says she has come to take away Christy along with her. Father Reilly and Shawn Keogh had instructed her to do so. Pegeen however does not allow Widow Quin to take Christy along with her.
CHRISTY GIVES AN ACCOUNT OF HOW HE HAD KILLED HIS FATHER
Early next morning, a few village girls come to see Christy in the shebeen. They all have come to see the young man who had killed his father. The girls brought presents for him.
Christy then tells them the reason why he had killed his father. He wanted Christy to marry a fifty-five year old widow. She was lame and one-eyed. She even had loose morals. Moreover, this widow had suckled Christy for six weeks from the time of his birth. Hence, it was impossible for him to marry her. This led to an argument between the father and the son. The old man tried to hit Christy with scythe. Christy, however, lifted up his spade and gave such a blow to his father that his body had been split into two from head to toe.
CHRISTY’S FATHER IS NOT DEAD
Widow Quin promises Shawn to marry Christy. Christy, however, is not interested in Widow Quin. As he was about to go out, he sees his father, Old Mahon. He immediately hides. Christy has failed to kill his father.
Christy’s father now enters the shebeen. He asks Widow Quin if she had seen a young boy. The old man tells her the young lad was his son. He had tried to kill him with the blow of a spade.
Widow Quin however manages to send the old man away. Then she turns to Christy and mocks him. She calls him the playboy of the Western world.
Christy is now distressed at the appearance of his father. Everybody here will know that he had been telling a lie.
Widow Quin tells him that Pegeen would turn him down too. She now tells him to marry her. He would be perfectly safe in her house.
PEOPLE’S ADMIRATION FOR CHRISTY IN THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD
The sport begins on the beach. The Old Mahon returns again. He now climbs on to a bench and seated beside Widow Quin watches the game. A crowd of spectators roars to applaud Christy’s performance. Old Mahon asks Widow Quin who the lad is. Widow Quin replies that he is a champion. He is the playboy of the Western world. Old Mahon now recognizes the lad to be his son, Christy. But Widow Quin convinces him to believe he had made a mistake. The champion young lad is a different person. Old Mahon, too, believes Widow Quin. This is because he believes his son, Christy to be a born idiot. He takes up Widow Quin’s suggestion and leaves the place.
THE INHABITANTS OF MAYO ADMIRES CHRISTY
The people of Mayo now carry the champion Christy on their shoulders. They bring him with cheers to the shebeen. Christy now becomes a real hero in the eyes of the people.
When left alone with Pegeen, Christy proposes her to marry him. Pegeen outwardly exhibits her doubt in how much he is true in his feelings. Christy, however, convinces her.
Pegeen then informs her father, Michael James, that she has decided to marry Christy and not Shawn.
CHRISTY’S SECOND MURDEROUS ATTACK ON HIS FATHER IN THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD
Amidst the discussion between Christy and Pegeen’s marriage, a noise is heard from outside. Old Mahon followed by a large crowd enters the shebeen. He starts beating Christy. On being asked by Pegeen, he introduces himself as Christy’s father. He further says that the blow of Christy could not kill him. Pegeen now rebukes Christy for having deceived them. He had told them a lie about killing his father.
The crowd, now calls the playboy of the Western world to settle the dispute with his father. They suggest to settle the dispute with his father. They suggest settling the dispute by means of a fight.
Christy takes up a spade and warns his father. Old Mahon tells him to return along with him to their village. Christy chases his father out of the doors followed by a crowd and Widow Quin.
A loud cry of pain is heard, followed by a perfect stillness. Everyone in the shebeen is now sure, Christy has killed his father.
Back in the shebeen, Widow Quin suggests Christy to escape. Christy however refuses to leave Pegeen. The crowd turns furious at Christy for killing his father. Pegeen, too turns hostile towards Christy.
CHRISTY, THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD DECIDES TO QUIT MAYO
Old Mahon now comes crawling into the shebeen. This time too, he has survived his son’s blow. He now suggests Christy come along with him to their village. There Christy should tell the villagers about the villainy of the people of Mayo.
Christy agrees to return with his father upon a condition. Old Mahon will have to take a subordinate position. Christy, the playboy of the western world will take all the decisions. He further thanks the people of Mayo. They have turned him into a real hero.
PEGEEN’S GRIEF OVER CHRISTY’S DEPARTURE IN THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD
Both Michael and Shawn are happy that Christy and his father have left. Pegeen boxes Shawn’s ear. When left alone, she laments over her loss of a lover. She says Christy is the only playboy of the western world.