The Playboy of the Western World - Short Sample Answers #2
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Table of Contents
The concept of ‘The Playboy’ is undoubtedly central to the play, considering its prominent place in the title. What is intriguing is that the concept shifts throughout the story. The Playboy is initially understood as a flirtatious man who attracts women. This aptitude is largely based on his mastery of language. Therefore, a playboy is one who can 'play' with words. And yet Christy drives this concept into a greater place, as his language and storytelling inflate his self-image. His identity grows to match the hyperbole of his language. As a result, he becomes a sports champion, suggesting that the Playboy is also an athletic specimen.
By the end of the play, when Pegeen laments losing the "playboy," we understand that she does not regret losing a libertine, but rather a master of self-identity. The Playboy has come to represent not just a master of language or athletics, but in fact a master of himself and his own identity.
Synge's program note was in essence an ‘apology’ for, or defence of, his play. In it, he maintained that his characters’ speech was, word for word, lifted from t...