The problem play, or play of ideas, contains strong characterisation and topical social issues. The genre is typically thought to have emerged with some of the works of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen in the late 1800s, such as A Doll’s House (1879), Ghosts (1882) and An Enemy of the People (1882). These realistic social dramas frankly portrayed current social issues on stage. Some scholars have loosely characterised a small number of Shakespearean dramas as problem plays, including Troilus and Cressida (1602), Measure for Measure (1603) and All’s Well That Ends Well (1623).
Only in the problem play is there any real drama, because drama is no mere setting up of the camera to nature: it is the presentation in parable of the conflict between Man’s will and his environment: in a word, of problem.
George Bernard Shaw.