Synge's evocative play of Irish country life scandalized the public and caused riots at the premiere in 1907. Though it was branded indecent and salacious, Synge's most celebrated play is actually quite charming and timeless as it follows the travails of the hapless Christopher 'Christy' Mahon. During a quarrel, he strikes his father with a spade and leaves him for dead. Taking it on the lam, he finds his way to a village pub where his deed makes him a hero. Young Pegeen Mike falls in love with Christy due to his exploits and the skill with which he tells of them. The Widow Quin, and other female townspeople, also fall under the romantic spell of this self-styled hero of the people.
Eventually Christy's not-quite-dead father hunts down his son. When the villagers discover that his father is truly alive they shun him for a coward. Trying to reclaim his former glory and Pegeen's love, Christy kills his father once again in front of the entire town. Watching this violent act shocks the townspeople and they call for Christy's execution to save themselves from the law. Luckily for Christy his father is not-quite-dead a second time and the father and son duo leave to wander the world together. Pegeen is left behind as she laments "I've lost the only playboy of the western world."
"A work of art....Preserves the fresh music of country speech." - The New York Times