Is there any playwright who could surpass Shakespeare, or at least be of equal match with him?Is there any playwright who could surpass Shakespeare, or at least be of equal match with him?
Given the general nature of this question, I will keep it in the literature group where it presently resides.
This is an interesting question, because many people actually believe that Shakespeare's plays are the creation of somebody else apart from Shakespeare, or at least the result of a collaboration between Shakespeare and another dramatist, such as Christopher Marlowe. Also, at the time of Shakespeare, it is interesting to note that the plays of Marlowe were actually considered to be superior to Shakespeare's work. Some critics today still argue that Marlowe is the better dramatist, and that we should be studying Marlowe instead of Shakespeare. I have included some links below to give you more information about Marlowe, but certainly his plays, including the great Doctor Faustus and also Edward II and Tamburlane the Great are certainly excellent.
If you are after a more modern day playwright, I would personally like to suggest Arthur Miller as being somebody whose plays at least approach equality in terms of greatness. He has managed to create modern day triumps such as The Crucible and Death of a Salesman that have captured the spirit of an age and also raise timeless themes such as the individual vs. society and personal guilt and the importance of reputation.
This is a very difficult question to answer, because art/writing are such subjective things. What may seem eloquent and powerful to one reader (Shakespeare), may be clumsy and difficult to comprehend to another.
Another thing one must consider is what aspect of writing you are comparing. Is it storytelling, or style, or character development, or theme creation you are considering?...because I would have very different answers for all of these catagories.
However, if you are asking holistically...I would tend to agree with the first poster that Miller may be a modern-day type of Shakespeare. His language may not be as lyrical, but his messages are strong and so are his characters.
I must agree with post #5 and, therefore, post #4. Literature is simply too subjective to make such a general statement. I would find it very hard to either make the statement, in regards to others, or have the statement made for me by another.
Simplistically, I do not believe that there are any modern day playwrights as wonderful as Shakespeare holistically. That being said, there are many who exist who can/have mastered individual elements of Shakespeare's writing.
I doubt that any playwright will ever reach the heights that William Shakespeare reached during his relatively short career. Even some of the 20th century's finest playwrights, such as Arthur Miller and Edward Albee, pale in comparison. Even when divided, Shakespeare's tragedies, comedies and histories singularly make him the greatest playwright in all three respects. Long live The Bard!
Surely no one else has the range that Shakespeare exhibits, though. Of course, as previous posters have said, this is very subjective. But even a playwright like Miller does not show an ability to do everything from love poetry (within his plays) to tragedy to comedy. Because Shakespeare was able to write great examples of so many kinds of plays, he surely does not have an equal.
It is fairly safe to say that no modern playwrights will ever have the impact on the world that Shakespeare had for lots of reasons. Modern playwrights such as those mentioned above (and I might add Tennessee Williams) will each have their own spheres of influence and do some things exceptionally well; however, Shakespeare did nearly everything well and made an impact it seems no one else will ever make.
Considering the depth and breadth of his writing as well as sheer volume of plays, I would say that no other playwright it ever going to come close. No playwright rivals his command of language. Shakespeare deftly handled all genres and covered most of the universal themes of literature -- a true master!