IF faith is to be placed in a French critic's1 dictum that no exceptional work of art is ever penned by anyone before reaching the age of thirty, then Synge's artistic achievement in his drama must be supremely great, for it was not until he was thirty-two that he came before the public as a playwright -- a late beginning for a dramatist whose life was to end so early.
The logical order of his dramatic writings coincides with their chronology. Synge has left in succession two one-act plays, In the Shadow of the Glen and Riders to the Sea; one two-act play, The Tinker's Wedding; and three three-act plays, The Well of the Saints, The Playboy of the Western World, and Deirdre of the Sorrows. These we shall first separately examine from an historical and critical standpoint -- studying them in their plots, genesis, stage-production and relation to Synge's personality, and also as illustrative of the artistic methods of Synge quâ playwright and of the growth of his dramatic technique. We shall then consider how far his plays may be regarded as really Irish.____________________