The Playboy of the Western World

by

J. M. Synge

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Pegeen, whose full name is Margaret Flaherty, is the forthright and attractive young barmaid at the village pub, and the daughter of Michael Flaherty. When the play opens, Pegeen is engaged to wed her second cousin, Shawn Keogh, though clearly finds his cowardice and religious anxieties exasperating. When Christy Mahon arrives, Pegeen is impressed by the bravery of his deed (killing his father, Old Mahon) and seduced by his way with words. She competes with Widow Quin for Christy’s affections, insisting that Christy stay at the pub to allay her fears of the long, dark night, especially as neither Shawn nor her father will be there. Pegeen has a romantic side to her character, often mentioning and mythologizing storytellers and poets. This contributes to her falling for Christy, who seems in every way the opposite kind of man to Shawn. Accordingly, she persuades her father to let her marry Christy rather than Shawn. Ultimately, though, this romanticism also masks naiveté: she turns on Christy when it turns out that his father, Old Mahon, is only injured, not dead, even though Christy quickly proves himself capable of the very same violence that so enamored Pegeen in the beginning. The difference, of course, is that Pegeen likes the mythical story of Christy’s father-slaying much more than the reality of having the violence take place right in front of her. When it is revealed that Christy’s father is still alive, Pegeen is furious at Christy for his dishonesty and joins in with the villagers’ attempt to hang the newcomer. But when Christy leaves with his father, boasting that from now on he will live the kind of romantic, vagrant life that the villagers believed him to lead, Pegeen quickly laments his loss, throwing a shawl over her head and crying after Christy as he returns to the mysterious wider world from which he came.

Pegeen Mike Quotes in The Playboy of the Western World

The The Playboy of the Western World quotes below are all either spoken by Pegeen Mike or refer to Pegeen Mike . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Heroism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of The Playboy of the Western World published in 1993.
Act 1 Quotes

PEGEEN. Where now will you meet the like of Daneen Sullivan knocked the eye from a peeler, or Marcus Quin, God rest him, got six months for maiming ewes, and he a great warrant to tell stories of holy Ireland till he’d have the old women shedding down tears about their feet. Where will you find the like of them. I’m saying?

SHAWN (timidly). If you don’t, it’s a good job, maybe; for (with peculiar emphasis on the words) Father Reilly has small conceit to have that kind walking around and talking to the girls.

PEGEEN (impatiently, throwing water from basin out of the door). Stop tormenting me with Father Reilly (imitating his voice) when I’m asking only what way I’ll pass these twelve hours of dark, and not take my death with the fear.

Related Characters: Pegeen Mike (speaker), Shawn Keogh (speaker), Father Reilly
Page Number: 4-5
Explanation and Analysis:

SHAWN (going to her, soothingly). Then I’m thinking himself will stop along with you when he sees you taking on, for it’ll be a long night-time with great darkness, and I’m after feeling a kind of fellow above in the furzy ditch, groaning wicked like a maddening dog, the way it’s good cause you have, maybe, to be fearing now.

PEGEEN (turning on him sharply). What’s that? Is it a man you seen?

SHAWN (retreating). I couldn’t see him at all; but I heard him groaning out, and breaking his heart. It should have been a young man from his words speaking.

PEGEEN (going after him). And you never went near to see was he hurted or what ailed him at all?

SHAWN: I did not, Pegeen Mike. It was a dark, lonesome place to be hearing the like of him.

Related Characters: Pegeen Mike (speaker), Shawn Keogh (speaker)
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

PEGEEN (with a sign to the men to be quiet). You’re only saying it. You did nothing at all. A soft lad the like of you wouldn’t slit the windpipe of a screeching sow.

CHRISTY (offended). You’re not speaking the truth.

PEGEEN (in mock rage). Not speaking the truth, is it? Would you have me knock the head of you with the butt of the broom?

CHRISTY (twisting round on her with a sharp cry of horror). Don’t strike me. I killed my poor father, Tuesday was a week, for doing the like of that.

PEGEEN (with blank amazement). Is it killed your father?

CHRISTY (subsiding). With the help of God I did surely, and that the Holy Immaculate Mother may intercede for his soul.

PHILLY (retreating with Jimmy). There’s a daring fellow.

JIMMY. Oh, glory be to God!

MICHAEL (with great respect). That was a hanging crime, mister honey. You should have had good reason for doing the like of that.

Page Number: 10-11
Explanation and Analysis:

PEGEEN (standing beside him, watching him with delight). You should have had great people in your family, I’m thinking, with the little, small feet you have, and you with a kind of a quality name, the like of what you’d find on the great powers and potentates of France and Spain.

Related Characters: Pegeen Mike (speaker), Christopher “Christy” Mahon
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

CHRISTY (going over to her, gradually raising his voice). I’ve said it nowhere till this night, I’m telling you, for I’ve seen none the like of you the eleven long days I am walking the world, looking over a low ditch or a high ditch on my north or my south, into stony scattered fields, or scribes of bog, where you’d see young, limber girls, and fine prancing women making laughter with the men.

PEGEEN. If you weren’t destroyed travelling, you’d have as much talk and streeleen, I’m thinking, as Owen Roe O’Sullivan or the poets of the Dingle Bay, and I’ve heard all times it’s the poets are your like, fine fiery fellows with great rages when their temper’s roused.

Related Characters: Christopher “Christy” Mahon (speaker), Pegeen Mike (speaker)
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

CHRISTY. […] Well, it’s a clean bed and soft with it, and it’s great luck and company I’ve won me in the end of time— two fine women fighting for the likes of me— till I’m thinking this night wasn’t I a foolish fellow not to kill my father in the years gone by.

Related Characters: Christopher “Christy” Mahon (speaker), Pegeen Mike , Widow Quin
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2 Quotes

CHRISTY. I wish to God I was letting on; but I was lonesome all times, and born lonesome, I’m thinking, as the moon of dawn.

[Going to door.]

PEGEEN (puzzled by his talk). Well, it’s a story I’m not understanding at all why you’d be worse than another, Christy Mahon, and you a fine lad with the great savagery to destroy your da.

CHRISTY. It’s little I’m understanding myself, saving only that my heart’s scalded this day, and I going off stretching out the earth between us, the way I’ll not be waking near you another dawn of the year till the two of us do arise to hope or judgment with the saints of God.

Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3 Quotes

CHRISTY. It’s little you’ll think if my love’s a poachers, or an earl’s itself, when you’ll feel my two hands stretched around you, and I squeezing kisses on your puckered lips, till I’d feel a kind of pity for the Lord God is all ages sitting lonesome in his golden chair.

PEGEEN. That’ll be right fun, Christy Mahon, and any girl would walk her heart out before she’d meet a young man was your like for eloquence, or talk, at all.

CHRISTY (encouraged). Let you wait, to hear me talking, till we’re astray in Erris, when Good Friday’s by, drinking a sup from a well, and making mighty kisses with our wetted mouths, or gaming in a gap or sunshine, with yourself stretched back unto your necklace, in the flowers of the earth.

Related Characters: Christopher “Christy” Mahon (speaker), Pegeen Mike (speaker)
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

MICHAEL. It’s many would be in dread to bring your like into their house for to end them, maybe, with a sudden end; but I’m a decent man of Ireland, and I liefer face the grave untimely and I seeing a score of grandsons growing up little gallant swearers by the name of God, than go peopling my bedside with puny weeds the like of what you’d breed, I’m thinking, out of Shaneen Keogh. (He joins their hands.) A daring fellow is the jewel of the world, and a man did split his father’s middle with a single clout, should have the bravery of ten, so may God and Mary and St. Patrick bless you, and increase you from this mortal day.

Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

PEGEEN. I’ll say, a strange man is a marvel, with his mighty talk; but what’s a squabble in your back-yard, and the blow of a loy, have taught me that there’s a great gap between a gallous story and a dirty deed. (To Men.) Take him on from this, or the lot of us will be likely put on trial for his deed to-day.

CHRISTY (with horror in his voice). And it’s yourself will send me off, to have a horny-fingered hangman hitching his bloody slip-knots at the butt of my ear.

Related Characters: Christopher “Christy” Mahon (speaker), Pegeen Mike (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Loy
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

CHRISTY. Ten thousand blessings upon all that’s here, for you’ve turned me a likely gaffer in the end of all, the way I’ll go romancing through a romping lifetime from this hour to the dawning of the judgment day.

[He goes out.]

MICHAEL. By the will of God, we’ll have peace now for our drinks. Will you draw the porter, Pegeen?

SHAWN (going up to her). It’s a miracle Father Reilly can wed us in the end of all, and we’ll have none to trouble us when his vicious bite is healed.

PEGEEN (hitting him a box on the ear). Quit my sight. (Putting her shawl over her head and breaking out into wild lamentations.) Oh my grief, I’ve lost him surely. I’ve lost the only Playboy of the Western World.

Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:
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Pegeen Mike Character Timeline in The Playboy of the Western World

The timeline below shows where the character Pegeen Mike appears in The Playboy of the Western World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
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In a run-down country pub on the west coast of Ireland, Pegeen Mike, a “wild-looking but fine girl of about twenty,” sits writing a list of items... (full context)
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Pegeen explains that her father has gone to a wake nearby and expresses her fear at... (full context)
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Pegeen laments the lack of heroes in the community, asking where “now will you meet the... (full context)
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Pegeen is annoyed by Shawn’s constant talk about Father Reilly, asking how she’ll “pass these twelve... (full context)
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...in a ditch “like a maddening dog,” and that it’s probably for the best that Pegeen is on guard. Pegeen sharply questions Shawn, asking why he didn’t investigate. Shawn admits he... (full context)
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...to the wake, but Shawn replies that he is about to go home to bed. Pegeen complains to her father about being left alone all night; Jimmy interjects to say that... (full context)
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...Father and the Cardinals of Rome” would think of him spending the night alone with Pegeen before they’re married. Michael is irate and, having heard about “a queer fellow above going... (full context)
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Michael holds up Shawn’s coat, saying “there’s the coat of a Christian man.” He tells Pegeen that at least she won’t have to worry about other women trying to take Shawn... (full context)
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Pegeen doesn’t think Christy has done anything: “a soft lad the like of you wouldn’t slit... (full context)
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Pegeen, Philly, and Jimmy all agree that Christy would make an excellent pot-boy for the pub.... (full context)
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Pegeen, feeling that Christy must be tired, insists that he stays the night. Jimmy is happy... (full context)
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Shawn sheepishly asks Pegeen if she wants him to stay and keep her “from harm.” She sharply tells him... (full context)
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As Christy looks at his blistered feet, Pegeen wonders if he had “great people” in his family. Christy says his family used to... (full context)
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Christy insists that this is the first time he’s spoken about killing his father, telling Pegeen that she is “a kindly woman.” He says he’s “seen none the like of you... (full context)
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Christy asks Pegeen if she is single, and she pretends that she is not engaged to Shawn. He... (full context)
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As Pegeen brings him milk and bread, Christy gives her more of a sense of the drudgery... (full context)
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...to come and take Christy to her house. Shawn and Father Reilly, she explains to Pegeen, were scared that Christy would be causing Pegeen trouble. Pegeen points to Christy, who is... (full context)
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...that he looks more like he should be saying his “catechism” than “slaying” his father. Pegeen retorts that anyone can see that Christy is “fit to be holding his head high... (full context)
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...singing in an August fair.” Christy asks if Widow Quin killed her father too, and Pegeen interjects to explain that Widow Quin hit her husband, Marcus Quin, over the head with... (full context)
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Widow Quin, annoyed by Pegeen, states that she, as a widow who has also “buried her children,” is a better... (full context)
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Scornfully, Pegeen insults Widow Quin with rumors about her—including that she “reared a black ram” at her... (full context)
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...“pot-boy.” Widow Quin suggests that, in that case, she will stay in the pub too. Pegeen forces her out; as Widow Quin leaves, she warns Christy that “torment will await you... (full context)
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With Widow Quin gone, Pegeen insists that she isn’t engaged, and that she wouldn’t marry Shawn “if a bishop came... (full context)
Act 2
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...work. He picks up the looking-glass from the wall and admires his reflection, thinking about Pegeen’s comment about his handsomeness. (full context)
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...They call him out. He enters, hiding the looking-glass behind his back. They ask where Pegeen is, and he explains that she is tending to the goats. (full context)
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...make Christy breakfast. She sits down with Christy and asks to hear his “story” before Pegeen comes back. (full context)
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...them a drink and toasts to “the wonders of the western world.” At this point, Pegeen comes in. The girls “spring away from Christy.” Pegeen angrily dismisses them and Widow Quin,... (full context)
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Now alone with Christy, Pegeen “imperiously” orders him to complete tasks around the pub. Trying to soften her mood, Christy... (full context)
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Pegeen purposefully teases Christy, scaring him that that the village girls might tell his story to... (full context)
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Pegeen calls Christy an “odd man.” He says anyone would be odd “living lonesome”; Pegeen points... (full context)
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Pegeen suspects Christy of pretending to be “lonesome” to win her affection, but he insists that... (full context)
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Pegeen finally lets on that Christy is safe at the pub and that there’s been nothing... (full context)
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Shawn runs in, accompanied by Widow Quin, and tells Pegeen that her sheep are “eating cabbages in Jimmy’s field.” She rushes out of the door... (full context)
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Widow Quin also tries to convince Christy, letting slip the rumor that Pegeen intends to marry him. This makes Christy “beam with delight.” As Christy goes into the... (full context)
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Christy frets about what Pegeen will say when she hears about his father’s visit. Widow Quin thinks she’ll kick him... (full context)
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Christy despairs to Widow Quin about the prospect of losing Pegeen’s affection, who he says has “the love-light of the star of knowledge shining from her... (full context)
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...whether he is a murderer or not. He instead begs her to help him win Pegeen’s heart, as the village girls clamor for him to come outside. She makes him promise... (full context)
Act 3
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Christy comes in, dressed in jockey’s garb, surrounded by admirers who include Pegeen and the village girls. The crowd gives Christy prizes for winning the race. Christy compares... (full context)
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As Pegeen wipes the sweat off Christy’s face, he tells her that the prize he really wants... (full context)
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Pegeen, won over by Christy’s “talk,” asks why a man like him, with “such poet’s talking,... (full context)
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Michael announces to Christy that Father Reilly has given Shawn and Pegeen permission to marry, asking if Christy thought that “I’d leave my daughter living single with... (full context)
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Michael is horrified that Pegeen wants to marry a father killer. She says it would be a “bitter thing” to... (full context)
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As Shawn continues to try to persuade Pegeen, Christy intervenes aggressively. Michael is afraid of “murder in this place,” and tells Shawn and... (full context)
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Christy appeals to Michael to let him marry Pegeen, asking why he would want a “quaking blackguard” like Shawn in his house at all.... (full context)
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...followed by the crowd (including Widow Quin). He runs at Christy and strikes him down. Pegeen drags Mahon off, asking who he is. Mahon reveals that he is Christy’s father, and... (full context)
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Pegeen is shocked that Christy has been lying: “and to think of the coaxing glory we... (full context)
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...and he needs to escape before he gets “hanged.” He insists that he won’t leave Pegeen, who should be impressed with him again now that he has dealt his father a... (full context)
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...him escape. Christy threatens the two women with a stool, insisting that he will wed Pegeen and be “a proven hero in the end of all.” Widow Quin goes to get... (full context)
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...Christy so that they can then hang him. He’s too scared to do it, so Pegeen takes the rope and drops it over Christy’s head. (full context)
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...is “an easy and speedy end,” necessary to keep the “peelers” away. Christy appeals to Pegeen, who says: “I’ll say a strange man is a marvel with his mighty talk; but... (full context)
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Michael says, “by the will of God, we’ll have peace for our drinks.” He calls Pegeen to get them. Shawn goes up to Pegeen and says, “it’s a miracle Father Reilly... (full context)