The most famous and infamous play by Ireland's best loved (and hated) playwright The Playboy of the Western World, offended audiences when first produced in 1907, on account of its 'immodest' references to Irish womanhood and aroused a prolonged and bitter controversy, which lasted until the author's death in 1909. In the play Christy Mahon stumbles into the Flaherty's tavern claiming to have killed his father. He is praised for his boldness, and he and the barmaid Pegeen fall in love to the dismay of her betrothed, Shawn. The Widow Quin tries to seduce him to no avail, but eventually his father, who was only wounded, tracks Christy to the tavern, and Christy attacks him again. Old Mahon falls, and the townsfold, afraid of being implicated, bind Christy, but he is freed when his father crawls inside. Christy leaves to wander the world with a newfound confidence, and Pegeen laments betraying and losing him.
John Millington Synge was born in 1871, of Anglo-Irish Protestant land owning stock. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, and then spent a few years wandering on the continent. Synge went to the Aran Islands in 1898, and subsequently revisited them several times. In the Shadow of the Glen and Riders to the Sea were both completed in the summer of 1902, and both were taken from material he had collected on the islands. The Playboy of the Western World, in which a young man lies about the death of his father offended audiences when first produced in 1907, on account of its 'immodest' references to Irish womanhood and aroused a prolonged and bitter controversy, which lasted until the author's death in 1909. His other works include a few poems and two books of travels The Aran Islands. Deirdre of the Sorrows was published posthumously.
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