The Playboy of the Western World Criticism

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Irish theater had never experienced such a violent audience response as it did when The Playboy of the Western World premiered on January 26, 1907. Theatergoers loudly proclaimed their disapproval of the plot, which appeared to glorify parricide; of what they considered offensive dialogue; and of Synge's depiction of the Irish character. Hisses continually disrupted the performances during the play's first week, and arrests were made nightly. The most controversial line in the play was Christy's declaration that he was not interested in "a drift of chosen females, standing in their shifts itself." Similar outbursts occurred during a 1909 revival of the play and during performances in North America in 1911. County Clare, County Kerry, and Liver-pool issued official condemnations of the play. Elizabeth Coxhead, in her article on Synge for British Writers, explains that when the play was produced, "Irish nationalistic feelings were high, and Synge's plays had caused offense before...

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This section contains 492 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Playboy of the Western World Study Guide
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The Playboy of the Western World from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.