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By: Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde The Importance of Being Earnest

A wealthy philanthropist adopts an abandoned baby he finds in a railway station waiting room. The child grows into a fine, upstanding young man. When his benefactor dies, he is made the guardian of the old man's lovely young daughter. But unknown to everyone, he leads a double life that even his best friend knows nothing about... If you thought that this has all the makings of a most sinister and diabolical plot, you couldn't be more mistaken. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is a light as a feather confection, full of mischief, fun and laughter! Written in 1894, this was Wilde's last play...

An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde An Ideal Husband

This story opens at a fashionable dinner party in Sir Robert Chiltern's home in the heart of London's stylish Grosvenor Square. One of Lady Chiltern's old school-friends, Mrs. Cheveley, a woman with a dubious past, accosts Sir Robert and threatens to expose a financial crime that he had once participated in, unless he agrees to finance a fraudulent construction project that she's promoting. Lady Chiltern is astounded when her husband who had been the severest critic of this project suddenly begins to speak in its favor...

Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde Lady Windermere's Fan

Lady Windermere’s Fan: A Play About a Good Woman is a four act comedy by Oscar Wilde, published in 1893. As in some of his other comedies, Wilde satirizes the morals of Victorian society, and attitudes between the sexes. The action centres around a fan given to Lady Windermere as a present by her husband, and the ball held that evening to celebrate her 21st birthday.

Salome by Oscar Wilde Salome

The original 1891 version of the play was in French. Three years later an English translation was published. The play tells in one act the Biblical story of Salome, stepdaughter of the tetrarch Herod Antipas, who, to her stepfather's dismay but to the delight of her mother Herodias, requests the head of Iokanaan (John the Baptist) on a silver platter as a reward for dancing the Dance of the Seven Veils.

A Florentine Tragedy and La Sainte Courtisane by Oscar Wilde A Florentine Tragedy and La Sainte Courtisane

Two short fragments: an unfinished and a lost play. A Florentine Tragedy, left in a taxi (not a handbag), is Wilde’s most successful attempt at tragedy – intense and domestic, with surprising depth of characterisation. It was adapted into an opera by the Austrian composer Alexander Zemlinsky in 1917. La Sainte Courtisane, or The Woman Covered in Jewels explores one of Wilde’s great idées fixes: the paradox of religious hedonism, pagan piety. Both plays, Wildean to their core, revel in the profound sadness that is the fruit of the conflict between fidelity and forbidden love...

A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde A Woman of No Importance

A Woman of No Importance is a play by Irish playwright Oscar Wilde. The play premièred on 19 April 1893 at London's Haymarket Theatre. It is a testimony of Wilde's wit and his brand of dark comedy. It looks in particular at English upper class society and has been reproduced on stages in Europe and North America since his death in 1900.

The Duchess of Padua by Oscar Wilde The Duchess of Padua

Guido Ferranti, a young man, travels to Padua with his friend Ascanio after receiving a mysterious letter from a stranger, claiming to know the true secret of Guido's birth. His plan of revenge goes awry, however, when he falls in love with his enemy's beautiful wife, the Duchess of Padua.

Book cover Vera; or the Nihilists

Vera; or, The Nihilists is a play by Oscar Wilde. It is a melodramatic tragedy set in Russia and is loosely based on the story of Vera Zasulich. It was the first play that Wilde wrote. It was produced in the United Kingdom in 1880, and in New York in 1882, but it was not a success and folded in both cities. It is nowadays rarely revived.

By: Rachel Crothers (1878-1958)

Book cover Man's World

The mysterious Frank Ware is a woman writer forced to write under a masculine pseudonym in order to win literary respect. Adding to her enigmatic status is the fact that she lives in New York City with her adopted child, a little son of unknown parentage, mystifying her friends by spending all her spare time in the least savory parts of the City, trying to rescue prostitutes from their hard lives. Eventually, even her closest bohemian and artistic companions begin to ask awkward questions, driving her to difficult, life-changing revelations...

By: Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816)

The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan The Rivals

The play is set in Bath in the 18th century, a town legendary for conspicuous consumption and fashion at the time. Wealthy, fashionable people went there to "take the waters", which were believed to have healing properties. The plot centres on the two young lovers, Lydia and Jack. Lydia, who reads a lot of popular novels of the time, wants a purely romantic love affair. To court her, Jack pretends to be "Ensign Beverley", a poor officer. Lydia is enthralled with the idea of eloping with a poor soldier in spite of her guardian, Mrs...

Book cover School For Scandal

Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comedy was first performed in 1777 and focuses on the intrigues and scandals of the British upper classes. Lady Sneerwell wants to marry Charles Surface, while Joseph Surface wants to marry Maria, an heiress and ward of Sir Peter Teazle. Maria, however, prefers Charles over Joseph. In order to detach her from Charles, Lady Sneerwell and Joseph spread rumors about an affair between Charles and Lady Teazle, Sir Peter's new young wife. Meanwhile, Sir Oliver Surface, newly returned from the East Indies, assumes various disguises to test his nephews' characters. Misunderstandings, mistaken identities, gossip, and bad behavior abound in this uproarious comedy.

By: Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916)

Miss Civilization by Richard Harding Davis Miss Civilization

Miss Civilization, a one act comedy, tells the story of a young woman who matches wits with three burglars attempting to rob her house.

By: Robert Browning (1812-1889)

Pippa Passes by Robert Browning Pippa Passes

Pippa Passes was a dramatic piece, as much play as poetry, by Robert Browning published in 1841 as the first volume of his Bells and Pomegranates series. The author described the work as the first of a series of dramatic pieces. His original idea was of a young, innocent girl, moving unblemished through the crime-ridden neighbourhoods of Asolo. The work caused outrage when it was first published, due to the matter-of-fact portrayals of many of the area’s more disreputable characters – notably the adulterous Ottima – and for its frankness on sexual matters...

By: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

The Hound of the Baskervilles (dramatic reading) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Hound of the Baskervilles (dramatic reading)

The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of four crime novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialised in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it is set largely on Dartmoor in Devon in England's West Country and tells the story of an attempted murder inspired by the legend of a fearsome, diabolical hound.

By: Sophocles (c. 497 BC - c. 406 BC)

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles Oedipus Rex

Oedipus the King (often known by the Latin title Oedipus Rex) is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed c. 429 BC. It was the second of Sophocles's three Theban plays to be produced, but it comes first in the internal chronology, followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone. Over the centuries, it has come to be regarded by many as the Greek tragedy par excellence.

Antigone by Sophocles Antigone

This is the final installment in Sophocles's Theban Plays, following Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus. Oedipus's daughter Antigone deliberately breaks the laws of Thebes when she buries her brother's body and is sentenced to death. She clashes with Creon, the King of Thebes, over what constitutes justice and morality: the laws of the state or the laws of the individual.

Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus

This is the second installment in Sophocles's Theban Plays that chronicles the tragic fates of Oedipus and his family. After fulfilling the prophecy that predicted he would kill his father and marry his mother, Oedipus blinds himself and leaves Thebes, to wander in the wilderness accompanied by his daughters Antigone and Ismene.

Book cover Electra

Sophocles' play dramatizes the aftermath of Agamemnon's murder by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus. His daughter Electra is hungry for revenge and longs for the return of her brother Orestes to help her achieve her ends.

Book cover Philoctetes

Sophocles' play recounts an episode from the Trojan War, in which the wily Odysseus and Achilles' son Neoptolemus travel to a remote island to persuade Philoctetes to come with them to Troy. A prophet has foreseen that the Greeks will need Philoctetes and his bow (given to him by Heracles before his death) in order to defeat the Trojans. The problem is that years before Odysseus had engineered Philoctetes' abandonment on the island, due to a festering, stinking wound he had received from a snakebite. Will Philoctetes forgive and forget, or will he take his revenge?

By: Stanley Houghton (1881-1913)

Book cover Hindle Wakes (with accompanying essay)

Alan Jeffcote, son of Nat Hawthorn, Hindle's richest factory owner, meets Fanny Hawthorn, daughter of Nat's 'slasher' and oldest friend, in Blackpool and the two go off for what they believe to be secret fling in Llandudno. But after the death of Fanny's friend, Mary, in a pleasure boat accident at Blackpool the secret is revealed and the the two families are thrown into disarray. The leading light of the so-called Manchester School of realist dramatists, Stanley Houghton wrote Hindle Wakes in 1911 and it was a hit both in Mrs...

By: Susan Glaspell (1876-1948)

Book cover Trifles

On the surface, this short play is a slice-of-life story about a murder investigation in the rural United States. However, it is also a story about the relationships between men and women, husbands and wives, and the often-overlooked "trifles" which can say so much about a person's life.

Inheritors by Susan Glaspell Inheritors

Inheritors, (1921) by American dramatist Susan Glaspell concerns the legacy of an idealistic farmer who wills his highly coveted midwest farmland to the establishment of a college (Act I.) Forty years later, when his granddaughter stands up for the rights of Hindu nationals to protest at the college her grandfather founded, she jeopardizes funding for the college itself and sets herself against her own uncle, president of the institution's trustees (Acts II & III.) Ultimately, she defies her family's wishes, and as a consequence is bound for prison herself (Act IV...

By: Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866)

Book cover Headlong Hall

Headlong Hall is the first novel by Thomas Love Peacock, published in 1815 (dated 1816). As in his later novel Crotchet Castle, Peacock assembles a group of eccentrics, each with a single monomaniacal obsession, and derives humor and social satire from their various interactions and conversations. The setting is the country estate of Squire Harry Headlong Ap-Rhaiader, Esq. in Wales.

By: Thomas Middleton (1580-1627)

Book cover Women Beware Women

Thomas Middleton's masterful 17th century tragedy is packed with adultery, incest, intrigue, revenge, and inventive methods for murder. Leantio elopes with Bianca against her family's wishes and tries to hide her in the house he shares with his widowed mother. Yet the Duke sees Bianca at the window and is powerfully attracted to her, threatening Leantio's security. Livia, a wealthy widow, delights in intrigue, aiding the Duke to satisfy his desires with Bianca, and bringing together her brother Hippolito with her niece Isabella, despite their familial relationship...

By: Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker

Book cover The Roaring Girl

The Roaring Girl is a rip-roaring Jacobean comedy co-written by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker and first published in 1611. The play is a fictionalized dramatization of the life of Mary Frith, known as "Moll Cutpurse", a woman who had gained a reputation as a virago in the early 17th century. (The term "roaring girl" was adapted from the slang term "roaring boy", which was applied to a young man who caroused publicly, brawled, and committed petty crimes.) The play combines the exploits of the cross-dressed Moll with the amorous adventures of a trio of merchants' wives, and the forbidden romance between Sebastian Wengrave and Mary Fitzallard.

By: Unknown

Everyman by Unknown Everyman

The Somonyng of Everyman (The Summoning of Everyman), usually referred to simply as Everyman, is a late 15th-century English morality play. Like John Bunyan's novel Pilgrim's Progress, Everyman examines the question of Christian salvation by use of allegorical characters, and what Man must do to attain it. The premise is that the good and evil deeds of one's life will be tallied by God after death, as in a ledger book. The play is the allegorical accounting of the life of Everyman, who represents all mankind...

The Drama: A Quarterly Review by Unknown The Drama: A Quarterly Review

This is a collection of theatrical essays from the American quarterly The Drama, including six non-fiction works -- 3 profiles: Schnitzler, Andreyev, and O'Neill, and 3 articles: Characterization vs Situation, The Actor in England, & The Evolution of The Actor.

By: Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)

The Machine by Upton Sinclair The Machine

Upton Sinclair is best known for his novel The Jungle, an expose of the meatpacking industry. He was also a playwright whose works for the stage reflected the same progressive viewpoints found in his other writing. In The Machine, published as part of Sinclair's 1912 collection Plays of Protest, Socialist activists show a rich man's daughter the truth about the society in which she has been raised.

Book cover Naturewoman

The Mastersons, a wealthy Bostonian family, await the arrival of their cousin Anna in the wake of her grandfather's death. Though born in Boston, Anna, who prefers the name Oceana, spent most of her life on a tropical island in the Pacific with her father. A free spirit, her practices and values surrounding proper dress, romance, and entertainment clash with those of her conservative relatives. What will happen as patience and tolerance wear thin for both parties when alluring Oceana catches the...

By: Various

One-Act Play Collection 003 by Various One-Act Play Collection 003

This collection of ten one-act dramas features plays by Edward Goodman, Alice Gerstenberg, Arnold Bennett, John Galsworthy, Anton Chekhov, Frank Wedekind, Moliere, Theresa Helburn, John Kendrick Bangs, and Harold Brighouse.

One-Act Play Collection 002 by Various One-Act Play Collection 002

This collection of eight one-act dramas features plays by Eugene O'Neill, George Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy, Susan Glaspell, William Dean Howells and John Millington Synge. It also includes a dramatic reading of a short story by Frank Richard Stockton.

One Act Play Collection 004 by Various One Act Play Collection 004

This collection of twelve one-act dramas features plays by James Allen, John Kendrick Bangs, Gordon Bottomley, Charles Dickens, Lord Dunsany, Susan Glaspell, George Bernard Shaw, August Strindberg, Marion Craig Wentworth, and William Butler Yeats. The plays were coordinated by Elizabeth Barr, Margaret Espaillat, Amanda Friday, Elizabeth Klett, Kristingj, David Lawrence, Algy Pug, Todd, and Chuck Williamson.


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