The Most Famous Playwright, Ranked

Choose the playwright you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 20, 2024 07:15
The impact of playwrights on culture and society is profound, influencing everything from popular entertainment to deep philosophical thought. Through their works, these writers have the power to challenge, entertain, and enlighten audiences across the globe. Ranking these influential figures can help highlight those whose contributions have resonated the most widely, encouraging a greater appreciation of theatrical arts. By participating in the ranking process, users contribute to a collective celebration of theatrical mastery. This ongoing ranking system is dynamic, reflecting changing opinions and new discoveries in the field of theatre. It offers a unique opportunity to see how preferences align or differ within a diverse community of theatre enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

Who Is the Most Famous Playwright?

  1. 2

    Tennessee Williams

    American playwright, whose works include some of the most popular plays of the 20th century.
    • Notable Works: A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    • Era: 20th Century
  2. 3

    Arthur Miller

    American playwright and essayist, known for his plays about the dark side of the American Dream.
    • Notable Works: Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge
    • Era: 20th Century
  3. 4

    Samuel Beckett

    Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, known for his bleak, tragicomic outlook on human existence.
    • Notable Works: Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Krapp's Last Tape
    • Era: 20th Century
  4. 5

    Henrik Ibsen

    Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet, known as the father of realism.
    • Notable Works: A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, Peer Gynt
    • Era: 19th Century
  5. 6

    Anton Chekhov

    Russian playwright and short-story writer, considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history.
    • Notable Works: The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya
    • Era: Late 19th Century
  6. 7


    One of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, known for the modernity of his form and themes.
    • Notable Works: Medea, The Bacchae, Hippolytus
    • Era: Classical Greece
  7. 8


    Ancient Greek tragedian, known for his contributions to the genre of Greek tragedy.
    • Notable Works: Oedipus Rex, Antigone, Electra
    • Era: Classical Greece
  8. 9

    Bertolt Brecht

    German theatre practitioner, playwright, and poet, known for his development of epic theatre.
    • Notable Works: The Threepenny Opera, Mother Courage and Her Children, Life of Galileo
    • Era: 20th Century
  9. 10


    French playwright, actor, and poet, widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the French language.
    • Notable Works: Tartuffe, The Misanthrope, The Imaginary Invalid
    • Era: 17th Century

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About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous playwright. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Playwright is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 153 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Playwright once every 24 hours. The rank of each Playwright is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

Additional Information

More about the Most Famous Playwright

William Shakespeare
Rank #1 for the most famous playwright: William Shakespeare (Source)
The world of theater has long been shaped by the work of playwrights. These writers create the scripts that actors bring to life on stage. Their words form the backbone of plays, driving the plot and developing characters. The most famous playwrights have left a lasting impact on literature and culture.

A playwright's work begins with an idea. This idea can come from many sources, such as history, personal experience, or imagination. Once the idea takes shape, the playwright writes a script. This script includes dialogue, stage directions, and sometimes notes for actors and directors. The goal is to tell a story that engages the audience and makes them think.

The most famous playwrights often explore universal themes. These themes include love, power, betrayal, and the human condition. By addressing these topics, their work remains relevant across different times and cultures. Their plays are often performed worldwide, translated into many languages, and studied in schools.

These playwrights also innovate with form and structure. They experiment with different ways to tell a story. This might include breaking the fourth wall, using non-linear timelines, or blending genres. Their creativity pushes the boundaries of what theater can be.

The impact of these playwrights extends beyond the stage. Their work influences other writers, filmmakers, and artists. Many famous movies and books draw inspiration from their plays. Their characters and quotes become part of popular culture. People use their lines in everyday conversation, often without realizing it.

The most famous playwrights often face challenges. They must balance artistic vision with practical concerns. Writing a play that can be performed on stage requires consideration of set design, budget, and audience expectations. Despite these challenges, their passion for storytelling drives them to create memorable works.

The legacy of these playwrights endures through time. Their plays are revived on stage, adapted for film and television, and continue to inspire new generations. Their ability to capture the essence of human experience ensures their place in the pantheon of great writers.

In summary, the most famous playwrights have a profound impact on theater and culture. Their work explores timeless themes, pushes creative boundaries, and influences other art forms. Despite challenges, their passion for storytelling shines through, leaving a lasting legacy. Their plays continue to be performed and studied, proving the enduring power of their words.

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