Culture

The Greatest Playwrights in History  

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List Rules Top writers of theatre and stage plays, including musicals

List of the best playwrights ever that span all time periods and issues in the plays that they wrote. Well known playwrights such as William Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller are included on this list along with more modern playwrights that have yet to have the same kind of recognition as these big names and their classic plays.

A playwright writes dramatic literature or a drama and can be used as performance pieces or as closet dramas that are not performed and only read as literary works. Recognizable titles are listed with the author’s name, like “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare or “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller. You may even recognize there are some popular movies based on plays from this list.

This list of the best playwrights asks the question, "Who is the best playwright ever?" and can be voted on by readers to change the order of who is on top. Each playwright is listed with a picture of themselves and have some of their most famous works listed next to their name to be identified easier. If you do not see a popular or your favorite playwright on the list, be sure to add them to have others be able to vote on them, as well.

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list ordered by
1
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth
2
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Three Sisters, The Seagull, A Marriage Proposal
3
Henrik Ibsen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
A Doll's House, Ghosts, Hedda Gabler
4
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Oedipus the King, Ajax, Electra
5
Samuel Beckett is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Happy Days
6
Euripides is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Medea, The Trojan Women, Alcestis
7
Molière is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
The Miser, The Misanthrope, Dom Juan
8
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband
9
Arthur Miller is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
The Crucible, Death of a Salesman
10
Aeschylus is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
ElijahKaganer added Oresteia, The Persians, Seven Against Thebes
11
Tennessee Williams is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
12
Aristophanes is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
ElijahKaganer added Thesmophoriazusae, The Knights of Aristophanes, The Clouds
13
Christopher Marlowe is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
The Jew of Malta, Doctor Faustus
14
Luigi Pirandello is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Six Characters in Search of an Author, The Rules of the Game, Herbstreise
15
Eugene O'Neill is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Long Day's Journey into Night, The Iceman Cometh
16
Bertolt Brecht is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
The Threepenny Opera, Life of Galileo
17
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Odes et Ballades
18
George Bernard Shaw is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Arms and the Man, Pygmalion
19
Eugène Ionesco is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Rhinoceros, The Seven Deadly Sins, Exit the King
20
Harold Pinter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Betrayal, The Birthday Party, The Dumb Waiter
21
August Strindberg is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Miss Julie, The Gather, A Dream Play
22
Nikolai Gogol is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
ElijahKaganer added Dead Souls, Nevsky Prospekt, The gamblers
23
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
ElijahKaganer added Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Elective Affinities
24
Pedro Calderón de la Barca is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
anamaria added Andrómeda y Perseo, Fieras Afemina Amor, La nave del mercader
La vida es sueño,El alcalde de Zalamea,El médico de su honra
25
Edward Albee is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Zoo Story, A Delicate Balance