Entertainment / Literature / Problem Play: There are two common meanings to this term. (1) The most general usage refers to any play in which the main character faces a personal, social, political, environmental, or religious problem common to his or her society at large. Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman is representative of a problem play in that Loman must face the challenges of what the author considers false values in a capitalistic society. (2) In a narrower sense, Shakespearean scholars apply the term 'problem play' to a group of Shakespeare's plays, also called 'bitter comedies,' especially Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, and All's Well That Ends Well. These plays explore dark and ignoble aspects of human psychology without attempting to solve or resolve the plot to the reader's satisfaction beyond a superficial level. Because of the uneasy endings, the plays do not seem to follow the standard conventions of Renaissance comedy.
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Play Noun Synonyms: amusement, frivolity, entertainment, recreation, fun, pleasure, sport, merrymaking, revelry, tomfoolery, horseplay, skylarking, monkey business, monkey tricks or monkeyshines
Play Verb Synonyms: engage, contend with, compete with or against, challenge, vie with, pit oneself against, take on, rival
Play Adjective Synonyms: amuse oneself, frolic, frisk, cavort, gambol, caper, sport, have fun, have a good time, enjoy oneself, disport (oneself), carouse
Problem Noun Synonyms: difficulty, trouble, question, dilemma, quandary, predicament, complication, hornet's nest, imbroglio, mess, muddle, stew, can of worms, fine kettle of fish, (pretty) pickle, facer
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