Thursday, September 21st, 2017...5:44 pmhange

Dining and Dishing with Widow Quin

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Since the introduction of Widow Quin, the drama Christy brought to the play becomes more enjoyable and humorous. When Christy first tells the people at the shebeen that he killed his father, the attempt from Michael, Shawn, and Pegeen to get the details from Christy fell flat because of the dry humor and “blank amusement” in their tone (Synge 105, I.259). However, Widow Quin brought drama and comedy to Christy’s murder when she relates their situations. She jokes and flirts with Christy in front of a disgruntled Pegeen to connect with him, if anything for the juicy details. The cougar vibes coming off of Widow Quin at this moment changes the gossip game with Christy in the shebeen since she is a widow who “has buried her children and destroyed her man is a wiser comrade for a young lad” (I.523-525).

Widow Quin makes Christy’s murder sexy because of her stage-directed teasing and flirtations with him. In Act 2, she arranges an impromptu gossip session. She and Christy, along with other girls, dish out tea, food, and details about why and how Christy killed his father (Synge 117-118). She nonchalantly eats chicken while asking Christy prompting questions about his motivations (was it for money or for a girl?). The responses to her questions are full of ridiculous dialogue and scenarios. After stirring up the drama, Widow Quin ends that gossip session to have words to later dish out to the not-dead father of Christy, Old Mahon (gasp!) – in the same act!


  • I love your observations about Widow Quin’s gossiping tendencies–her willingness to do what is necessary for the “juicy details.” This blog post does a great job of emphasizing how Widow Quin’s character comes to life with stage directions like eating chicken nonchalantly, and her overall fascination with Christy via her many questions. Something about the chicken observation makes me wonder how a modern adaptation could stage that–and for some reason, I can’t shake the idea of having this scene play out in a waffle house, for example. What would the “Waffle House Widow Quin” be like?

  •   Professor Seiler
    September 25th, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Elaine–building on your lively post and Janel’s fantastic waffle house suggestion: do you ever wonder, with WQ, just how “impromptu” her manipulations are? In a scene outside the purview of your post, for example, she clearly stage-manages things so that Pegeen leaves and she and Shawn can convince Christy to leave… or to marry her… or to give her the right of way over Pegeen and Michael’s land. She’s a staged exemplar of the real consequences of dishing, I guess!

  • Great post! I definitely agree that Window Quinn adds a comedy and a sex-appeal to the play. I love that she pounced on Christy the moment he entered the pub. I love the adjectives you used in this post. Beautiful writing!

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