Much of the existing writing about Martin McDonagh reads like a contest between critics who compete to offer the most lavish praise and the most scathing contempt.1 While his plays are reviewed in the contexts of contemporary, British, and Irish theater, almost all of the scholarship treats him primarily as an Irish playwright, if ambivalently so. This focus has produced some of the most astringent responses to his work; in particular, he has been accused by critics of offering a variety of Culchie or Redneck Orientalism, whether those critics emphasize metropolitan Irish audiences’ willingness to see his plays as staging the backwards past they have left behind or whether they emphasize foreign audiences’ apparent embrace of the most shopworn Irish tropes.2 The Pillowman (2003), however, is McDonagh’s first play not to take place in an explicitly Irish setting, and it has none of the flamboyant stage signifiers of Irishness that have helped make his other plays both so lauded and so contested. It is, for example, probably his least overtly profane play, the one with the least use of “fucking” and “fecking.” This relative scarcity suggests, among other things, that the profusion of the word “fecking” in his earlier plays functions as some kind of universal signifier of Irishness for audiences, as if cursing is what the Irish do best.3 Particularly in light of his reception not just as an “Irish playwright” but as a writer of “plays about Ireland,” then, one of the questions about The Pillowman is how McDonagh’s persistent concerns with violence and humor, described by the other contributors to this volume, function outside of Irish settings.4 After discussing the play’s performance history, plot, and critical reception, this chapter will suggest that The Pillowman answers this question by producing what McDonagh’s gleefully violent plays have perhaps least prepared his audience to expect: a moment of grace.