Modern drama and modern literature in general refer to the literary works written and created in the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century. Some of the most important dramatists and playwrights of this period include Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, Anton Chekhov, Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams, Bertolt Brecht, Eugene O'Neill, Albert Camus, Arthur Miller, Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter Caryl Churchill, and more. Their works, especially their more popular ones, are good examples of modern drama.
Modern drama is often characterized with realistic themes; playwrights usually focus on ordinary people and their ordinary or even extraordinary lives, combining both tragic and comic elements. When it comes to modern realist drama, the most important playwright, who is also considered the father of realism, is the Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen; his plays, such as A Doll's House and Hedda Gabler, are prime examples of early-modern drama. Ibsen's contemporaries Anton Chekhov (Russia) and August Strindberg (Sweden) are also among the most influential modern realist playwrights; Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull, and Uncle Vanya, and Strindberg's Miss Julie and The Father are some of their most popular works.
American playwright Tennessee Williams, who was heavily influenced by Chekhov's writings, stands out as one of the most famous modern dramatists, writing timeless classics such as The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Absurdism and existentialism are also popular themes in modern drama; Beckett's Waiting for Godot, Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children, O'Neill's The Hairy Ape, Miller's Death of a Salesman, Camus' Caligula, and Sartre's No Exit are some of the best examples of modern existentialist and absurdist drama.
Oscar Wilde is often referred to as one of the most prominent English modern playwrights; his works include The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, Salome, and more.
Other more contemporary British playwrights include Harold Pinter and Caryl Churchill; Pinter's The Birthday Party and Churchill's Top Girls are some of the most notable English contemporary dramas.