New!

Slavoj Žižek chooses his five favourite plays

In an interview with Five Books, Slavoj Žižek selects five plays he admires. These plays are:

Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles
Richard II by William Shakespeare



The Hostage by Paul Claudel


The Measures Taken by Bertolt Brecht


Not I by Samuel Beckett


The interesting interview keeps on going:

Can you tell us a little bit about why you’ve chosen each of these plays?

At first, the five plays look like a jumbled heap lacking any common feature—what could they have in common? The bitter end of the old Oedipus who cannot reconcile himself with his fate; Richard II’s descent into madness after he is deprived of royal prerogatives; the meaningless self-sacrifice of a woman married to a man she despises; the ruthless killing of a young Communist who has shown too much compassion; and the confused mumbling of an old senile Irish woman?

To each of these plays, one can easily substitute another piece by the same author which deserves much more our attention. For example, is the ethical fidelity of Antigone not much easier to identify with than the vicissitudes of the old Oedipus? Are the doubts and procrastinations of Hamlet not infinitely more interesting....more