Theater 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
2,558 535
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth
2
1,031 588
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Three Sisters, The Seagull, A Marriage Proposal
3
1,076 416
Henrik Ibsen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
A Doll's House, Ghosts, Hedda Gabler
4
745 272
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Oedipus the King, Ajax, Electra
5
609 339
Samuel Beckett is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Happy Days
6
443 192
Euripides is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Medea, The Trojan Women, Alcestis
7
477 225
Molière is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
The Miser, The Misanthrope, Dom Juan
8
756 296
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband
9
615 242
Arthur Miller is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
The Crucible, Death of a Salesman
10
332 163
Aeschylus is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
ElijahKaganer added Oresteia, The Persians, Seven Against Thebes
11
636 215
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
305 151
Aristophanes is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
ElijahKaganer added Thesmophoriazusae, The Knights of Aristophanes, The Clouds
13
313 171
Christopher Marlowe is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
The Jew of Malta, Doctor Faustus
14
179 105
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
346 146
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
311 168
Bertolt Brecht is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
The Threepenny Opera, Life of Galileo
17
276 114
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
370 145
George Bernard Shaw is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Arms and the Man, Pygmalion
19
177 102
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
259 137
Harold Pinter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Betrayal, The Birthday Party, The Dumb Waiter
21
179 136
August Strindberg is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Miss Julie, The Gather, A Dream Play
22
142 106
Nikolai Gogol is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
ElijahKaganer added Dead Souls, Nevsky Prospekt, The gamblers
23
220 126
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
122 119
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
231 95
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