Great Plays That Mix Poetry and Drama

The use of poetry in drama is nothing new. From  Shakespearean classics to modern gems, these plays prove that poetic language isn’t just for the bookish types—it’s for everyone. Here are eight great plays that cover everything from existential musings to Southern Gothic vibes.


Hamlet by William Shakespeare

First up, we’ve got Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Forget everything you thought you knew about moody princes and dive into Hamlet’s head with soliloquies that are basically the OG emo anthems. The “To be or not to be” moment? Poetic gold.


Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

Fast forward to France in 1897 with Edmond Rostand’s “Cyrano de Bergerac.” Cyrano isn’t just a duelist; he’s a poet dropping verses like it’s nobody’s business. Romance, unrequited love, and honor take center stage in this French classic.


The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

Switching gears, we’ve got Tennessee Williams and “The Glass Menagerie.” With strong autobiographical elements, it’s not your typical verse play, but Williams weaves in poetic language and symbolism to dive deep into ideas of dreams and family.


A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry takes us to Chicago in the 1950s with “A Raisin in the Sun,” using powerful and poetic dialogue to tackle racial and social issues. The play is a raw, emotional journey reflecting on the pursuit of the American Dream.


Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Enter the absurd with Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” The writing might seem minimalistic, but every word carries serious philosophical weight. Throughout the play, Beckett creates a poetic meditation on the crazy, hopeful mess we call the human condition.


Equus by Peter Shaffer

Peter Shaffer’s “Equus” brings the drama with poetic and symbolic elements that evoke religious and ritual sacrifice themes. Dive into the mind of a young man obsessed with horses, where poetic language adds layers to a tale of passion, repression, and identity.


A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

An icon of mixing drama and poetry, Tennessee Williams had to appear on this list twice. “A Streetcar Named Desire is a Southern Gothic masterpiece serving up dialogue so emotionally charged and poetic that it’s practically haunting. Blanche DuBois, we’re looking at you.


The Waste Land (Adaptation) by T.S. Eliot

Last but not least, playwright Don Nigro, takes the poetic prowess of T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” from the page to the stage. This adaptation offers a unique exploration of societal disillusionment and cultural decay in true Eliot style.


So, there you have it—eight plays that prove poetry isn’t just for academics. From Shakespeare’s timeless verses to modern interpretations, these plays inject a dose of poetic magic into the heart of drama, creating experiences that stick with you long after the curtain falls.