The playboy of The Western World, first written and performed just over one hundred years ago still addresses many themes that are relevant in today's society. The play is set in rural western Ireland, still under British rule and still in relative poverty, the play is set over just one day. The general themes that are addressed in the play are; feelings of community, the importance of fantasy and reality, Heroism, love, authority and morality. All of which can be applied to today's society.
When Christy Mahon first walks into Flaherty's tavern boasting eloquently of how he has killed his father, the townspeople do not berate him for committing an immoral and evil deed. Instead, his story of rising up and destroying his father (a figure of authority) inspires the people in the pub and Christy becomes an unlikely hero. This singular act signifies the importance of fantasy and storytelling, the people in the tavern have not seen the deed and they do not know if its necessarily true but it creates a great deal of excitement in their rather mundane and boring lives. Storytelling, embellishment and stories of "heroism" are still just as important today, but expressed through different mediums such as the mass media rather than in the setting of a tavern. When Christy attempts to kill his father again in front of the villagers they turn against him, because seeing this immoral act in reality betrays the fantasy they had envisaged in their heads about Christy and his challenging of authority. In the end when Christy is banished from the Village with his father, Pegeen then laments betraying and losing Christy, The Playboy of the Western World. The ending signifies that language, fantasy and love is superior to mundane, boring and oppressive lives.