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.
In The Shadow of the Glen an old man tests his wife's commitment by feigning death; Riders to the Sea is inspired by Synge's stay on the Aran Islands and shadows the death of a way of life as a mother sees her sons die before her eyes; The Tinker's Wedding is about a woman's desire for marriage to her tinker husband and is full of Synge's fascination for the tinker breed who had freed themselves from govenment and conventions while giving way to instincts of sexual promsicuity, fighting and drinking; The Well of Saints is set near a holy well known for its cures of blindness and epilepsy and centres on the figure of Martin Doul, who is blind and has two illusions - the first, that he and his wife Mary are a handsome couple and the second, that the visible world is full of wonder and delight; 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; Deirdre of the Sorrows is Synge's last play, published posthumously and tells the story of a young and beautiful girl, destined to be the bride of an ageing king who elopes with a younger man and after the magical seven years returns only to bring with her the destruction of a city.