Autumn iRevise Online Tutorial Series 31st of August to 5th of December

The Playboy of the Western World - Short Sample Answers

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Table of Contents

In his Preface to The Playboy, Synge writes that “on the stage one must have reality, and one must have joy." What does he mean by this? 4

One of the first compliments Pegeen pays Christy is to compare him to “the poets.” Why is this significant? 5

Why did The Playboy’s first-night audience grow hostile at the entrance of Old Mahon? 6

Shawn appeals incessantly to the authority of the absent Father Reilly. Why is this significant? 7

Discuss the inversion of the Cuchulainn myth, as Synge uses it in The Playboy. 8

Discuss the “Theory of Regeneration,” and its importance to Irish Culture at the beginning of the 20th century. How does The Playboy reflect this theory? 9

In his Preface to The Playboy, Synge writes that “on the stage one must have reality, and one must have joy." What does he mean by this?

Synge went to great lengths in his program note to The Playboy – and later in his published Preface – to assure the public that he reproduces in his play the singular language of Irish villagers. By representing the poetic language of these people through his plays, he is attempting to capture reality. And yet the poetic form of this language - rendered through imagery, argot and rhythm - also reflects the depth and color of a popular folk imagination. There is myth and excitement even within this realism. For Synge, this imagination and poetic extravagance was unfathomably rich, not only in its own expression, but also through its “joyful” effect on his own creati...

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