Comparison of Arms and the Man and Playboy of the Western World (Irish Literature)

Topics: The Playboy of the Western World, John Millington Synge, Abbey Theatre Pages: 4 (1392 words) Published: April 20, 2009
George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man and John M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World are two plays written around the turn of the century. Both Irish playwrights use humor in developing their plots while telling great tales of so-called heros. Though their writing style and language used are very different, their character's possess similar characteristics. They are developed and presented to us in ways that make them easy to define.

Christy Mahon is the "ironic hero" in Synge's play, The Playboy of the Western World. Christy comes to the public house in Mayo, where he meets Pegeen, to find refuge. We learn his story: He killed his so called terrible father and buried his body in his corn field. He then ran away to avoid the authorities and find a safe place to hide out until it all passed over. When he meets Pegeen and all the people of Mayo, they are aroused by his story rather then appalled. They find his story of murder and betrayal of his own father intriguing and they celebrate him for it. He gets hired as a pot boy and is given a place to stay, work and most importantly hide out. Quickly he becomes the talk of the town. The ladies love him and swoon over him. Yet he only has eyes for one, Pegeen Mike.

Pegeen, daughter of the man who hired Christy, is not your average righteous Irish woman. Instead, she is a very strong minded, quick witted woman who is arranged to marry Shawn Keogh. Pegeen refuses to marry Shawn though, mostly because he is a complete coward. She obviously dominates him. Due to this, very shortly after meeting, Christy and Pegeen fall in love. Pegeen softens up and we see a kinder side of her, rather than her usual aggression that we see when she speaks with Shawn. Her kind side only lasts until we find out that Old Mahon, Christy's father, is still alive. He walked for 10 days, badly bruised on his head from Christy's attempt to kill him, and arrived in Mayo to look for him. When it is revealed that he is still alive the...
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