Synge, J. M.  

Playboy of the Western World


Best-selling play by J.M. Synge.

ISBN: 9780853424062 Category:


John Millington Synge's classic work set in Mayo. A mysterious traveller, Christy Mahon, arrives in the village believing he has killed his father. He is looked upon as a hero by the locals and falls in love with one of them, Pegeen Mike, who agrees to marry him. But when Christy's 'murdered' father appears on the scene, Christy's fortune takes a downturn with comic and tragic result.

The Playboy of the Western World is, undoubtedly, Synge’s masterpiece. It was produced at the Abbey Theatre in 1907 and provoked an immediate riot and continuing controversy. This edition of the play is introduced by renowned Kerry actor Éamonn Keane whose interpretation of the role of Christy Mahon ranks him with the greatest actors to have played this part.

John Millington Synge was born in 1871 in Rathfarnham, County Dublin. His father was a barrister and his mother the daughter of a County Cork rector. He studied languages and music at Trinity College, Dublin and decided to become a professional musician on graduation. In Germany he continued his studies, but began to have doubts about his choice of career. He moved to Paris where in 1896 he met W. B. Yeats, who advised him to give up Paris and return to Ireland. He even suggested where Synge might find the inspiration to write – the Aran Islands. In 1898 Synge visited the Aran Islands for the first time. Here he listened and noted the speech of the islanders. It was, in translation, to be the pattern for the dialogue of his plays. In 1902 he wrote two plays, In the Shadow of the Glen and Riders on the Sea. Three years later The Well of the Saints was produced. He was now established as a playwright. His fourth play, The Playboy of the Western World was produced at the Abbey Theatre in 1907 and provoked an immediate riot and continuing controversy. He was at this time a sick man, but lived to write two more plays, The Tinker’s Wedding and Deirdre of the Sorrows. He died in March 1909.




ISBN 9780853424062

About the Author

John Millington Synge (16 April 1871 - 24 March 1909) was an Irish playwright, poet, prose writer, and collector of folklore. He was one of the cofounders of the Abbey Theatre. He is best known for his play The Playboy of the Western World, which caused riots during its opening run at the Abbey Theatre.
Synge suffered from Hodgkins disease, a form of cancer at the time untreatable. He died just weeks short of his 38th birthday and was at the time trying to complete his last play, The Last Black Supper.

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