Throughout the history of British drama in four hundred years, it was found that it had “three summits and three troughs”, and the peak time is short, the valley time is long, entirety downward, come out abruptly, gone slowly, even today, was unknown to the public. Although Mr. Harold Pinter won the Nobel Prize in literature for writing drama, but fundamentally speaking, his work is the lingering charm of the theatre of the absurd, not brand new.
The British drama history, just like the rise and fall of the British Empire, in the three queens (Elizabeth I, Vitoria, Elizabeth II) times respectively reach the three summits. Drama, the brilliant wonderful work of the history of English literature has its own spokesperson in the above three times. Shakespeare will always be a symbol of British drama, but also the leader of “Elizabeth drama”, the linker of the three famous “University wits”. Shakespeare's talents and contributions of drama is unsurpassable, later ages playwrights can only live in his shadow. Even in 18th Century recognized the most distinguished dramatist Sheridan is no exception. The writer is good at writing satire, but his best work is just a continuation of the Shakespearean comedy. It seems that the two century after Shakespeare, British dramatist's greatest contribution is to popularize Shakespeare’s works, patch up. The time of Romanticism in England is too short, before and after twenty years, even one influential playwright is not appear, only Shelley, Byron wrote some poetic dramas. But the romantic drama is essentially poetry instead of drama, is far away from the true meaning of drama. Moreover, their works can't move on the stage.
In the early twentieth Century, in the influence of Irish Renaissance and Ibsen experimental drama, represented by George Bernard Shaw of social problem drama, reached the second summit to the history of British drama. However, soon afterward, drama has been marginalized again. After the Second World War, people carry out a profound reflection on the war, at the same time, they are thoroughly despair to the present world. In this background, the playwright Samuel Beckett’s theatre of the absurd achieves the third and the last summit of British drama history. Also, this genre is still not last long, fading fast in the UK.