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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  11,744 ratings  ·  281 reviews
“A superb new drama written by John Patrick Shanley. It is an inspired study in moral uncertainty with the compellingly certain structure of an old-fashioned detective drama. Even as Doubt holds your conscious attention as an intelligently measured debate play, it sends off stealth charges that go deeper emotionally. One of the year’s ten best.”—Ben Brantley, The New York ...more
Paperback, 58 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Theatre Communications Group (first published April 26th 2005)
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Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareWaiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Best Plays Ever
43rd out of 582 books — 757 voters
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Best American Plays
25th out of 183 books — 272 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jan 09, 2008 Tung rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
The Pulitzer-prize winning drama for 2005. Set in 1964, Doubt revolves around the head of a Catholic school (Sister Aloysius), one of her teachers (Sister James), and the priest of the school’s church (Father Flynn). Father Flynn is or is not guilty of child abuse; Sister James is or is not a participant in the discovery of the truth; Sister Aloysius is or is not jumping to conclusions based on personal biases – hence, the title of the play. While set in 1964, the play resonates well in the post ...more
Well I sunk to an all time low. I sat in B&N today and read this entire play. It wasn't that long; only around 60 pages. At least I bought 4 other books.

Doubt makes you question what you think is true. I recognized myself in some of the passages of this book. In the introduction, the author asks if there has ever been a time when you've argued a point to the point when you question yourself. Do you become blinded by your own convictions?

The play revolved around two nuns, a priest and a youn
Ahmad Sharabiani
Doubt: a parable, John Patrick Shanley
عنوان: شک : یک تمثیل (نمایشنامه)؛ اثر: جان پاتریک شنلی؛ برگردان: محمد منعم؛ زیر نظر: محمد منعم؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، نیلا، 1389؛ در 96 ص، شابک: 9786005140880؛ موضوع: نمایشنامه های نویسندگان آمریکایی، قرن 20 م

عنوان: شک : یک تمثیل (نمایشنامه)؛ اثر: جان پاتریک شنلی؛ برگردان: آزاده شاهمیری؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، قطره، 1392؛ در 114 ص، شابک: 9786001196256؛ موضوع: تئاتر و نمایشنامه های نویسندگان آمریکایی، قرن 20 م

داستان نمایشنامه شک درباره راهبهای است که به کشیشی مظنون
Laura Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric Kibler
A priest is suspected of pedophile activity.

Whether he did it or not is not really the focus of this play. Rather, the theme is the way in which doubt plays upon the human mind, for good or for ill.

That doesn't mean you can't discuss whether or not you feel Father Flynn did it. But the larger grappling with existential doubt is what makes this play more mature and unsettling than the average Afterschool Special.
I love this play. It deals with so much with just three characters. Others are mentioned, but there's no need for them to appear in the play.

We have been working with this in Intermediate Acting and the first sentence I came up with to describe the play (after the first read through, not much else), was that it was about a woman who finds humanity because of the actions she took against another because of her suspicions. There's a lot more and that may not quite be what I would say the play is a
Maybe reading the book is different from seeing it performed but I really don't feel a lot of doubt; I think that Sister Aloysius made an obviously false accusation. Yes, there were moments when I thought the play write was going to give me reason to doubt and then it just didn't pan out. Mostly I'm going off of Donald's behavior - he just doesn't present like an abuse victim because Father Flynn's explanation of what happened aligns with Donald's behavior and Mrs. Muller says that she's noticed ...more
In Scene VII of John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt," Father Flynn admits to Sister James that he fabricated a story he told in a sermon on gossip. "What happens in life is beyond interpretation," he tells her. "The truth makes for a bad sermon. It tends to be confusing and have no clear conclusion."
"Doubt," which was later expanded into an excellent movie, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for drama in no small part because it adheres to these words.
Father Flynn's is the first voice to confront us, giving
I wish this book had been as mind-blowing for me as it is for so many others. It's gotten wonderful reviews from critics and audiences and readers; it's got a Pulitzer. I did not care for it very much. It was very short; it could have been longer and more involved. It could have made me doubt more. Ever read Life of Pi? It's a book about faith, but it makes you second-guess everything; it makes you doubt. So, having had experience with doubt-inducing stories, I expected more.
It is well-written,
I liked the movie well enough, but the source material was tremendously impressive. Shanley has managed to convey a terrific amount of complex conflicting human emotions in such a slender volume. It is a clever morality play (no pun intended) of the highest order made all the more profound by its ambiguity. Really top of the line as far as explorations of the fallibility of human nature go. Highly recommended.
Drama--Set in 1964 in the Bronx at a Catholic school/parish in an Italian- and Irish-American neighborhood, Doubt revolves around whether a well-liked and less-conservative priest has been abusing an altar boy in the school, who happens to be the first and only black student. There are four characters: the priest, the boy's mother, a young nun who is the boy's teacher, and an older nun who is the principal of the school. The nun/principal has no doubt of the priest's guilt, even though he denies ...more
Sherry (sethurner)
I was fascinated by this play, which is not so much about priests who molest children as it is about the specific character of a priest and two nuns at a Catholic grade school in 1964. There is a priest who wants to be modern, wants to be friends with students, a young nun who is much the same, and an older nun who is basically a very suspicious and rigid person. To me, the struggle between the priest and the nun is as much about power as it is about possible inappropriate relationships. I loved ...more
I reread this play, because I have been cast as the bitter, old nun Sister Aloysius in our community theater production of it next month, that I have been championing that we do for several years. It’s an amazing play. It’s a four person play, with Sister Aloysius in five of the nine scenes. It’s 1964 and Sister Aloysius doesn’t approve of the way a young nun and young-ish priest want to be liked by their students and parishioners, so she sets out to destroy them. I have had several administrato ...more
Read this after seeing the recent film. I actually felt that the book helped solidify my feelings about the story and as to whether or not the accused priest was guilty of the suggested crime. I thought this was a beautifully written story designed to make you think about all those times you were totally sure about something only to realize that when you really thought about it, you actually weren't.
I also really enjoyed the forward to this edition, especially the last paragraph. I thought it w
In the preface to his 2004 play, John Patrick Shanley claims we as a society have moved from a culture of celebrity worship to one of courtroom drama. We debate, pass judgment, stand with conviction, and invite confrontation as a way of enforcing a greater cultural understanding of "good" and "evil." We do this, Shanley says, "because deep down under the chatter we have come to a place where we know that we don't know...anything. But nobody's willing to say that."

This is the crux of Doubt, a tau
Apr 21, 2015 Ashley rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: play
This review is of the stage play script. In 2008, the stage play was adapted in to a movie that stars Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis.

Doubt is a deceptively simple story: a nun at a Catholic school believes that a priest is having inappropriate contact with a student. The nun has no evidence to back up her accusations against the priest, but her instincts are telling her that something is wrong. The play is set in 1960s New York and confronts the issues of race,
Malak Alrashed
I cannot remember at any point in my life wanting to read a contemporary play. My experience with plays revolves around Shakespeare, Wilde, and some Greek ones. So, I thought I wouldn't take this one seriously, I was wrong. I enjoyed every scene and every dialogue.

Doubt is a story of a nun who suspects her priest of abusing one of the altar boys. Simply put. but carefully reading it, it's more about purity, power, and conviction. The words flow like poetry, every line is quotable. Really well-wr
Very cool and short play

Main characters were: two nuns, Sister James and Sister Aloysius, Father Flynn, and Donald Muller.

Basic summary: Sister Aloysius, a very traditional and strict nun, is convinced that Father Flynn is homosexual and is having inappropriate relationships with the school's first African American student, Donald Muller. By the end, we learn that Father Flynn was having inappropriate relationships, or maybe that he knew he was doing something that was definitely against the no
Brittany Nguyen
This was an amazing play. It made me question and DOUBT my opinion on if the priest is actually guilty. I really hate Sister Aloysious. She is like one of those evil Sisters in the movies. I am starting to get more and more into plays and I am excited to watch the movie version.
Tresa Rentler
One of the most effective one act plays I have read in recent memory. The building of tension is straight out of a Hitchcock film with an amazing climax to boot. The characters are both beautifully vivid and tragically real. The plot tackles issues such as racial tension, sexism, sexuality and church scandal all in 58 pages. Anyone studying drama or playwriting structure should defiantly give this a read.
Nancy Kotkin
Set in a Catholic school in the Bronx during the turmoil of the 1960s, this drama explores doubt and conviction. A nun is convinced, albeit without concrete evidence, that the parish priest is molesting the school's only black student. The priest continually insists he is innocent, which only incites the nun to increasingly precarious heights in her attempts to prove that she is right.

All four characters are complex and well developed. The setting mirrors the swirling tensions inside the charact
Suzette Kunz
I love this play. It's set in a Catholic school in the 1960s. The principal, a nun, suspects a priest of molesting one of the boys and sets out to get rid of him. She has no actual evidence but is determined that her instinct is right. It raises some interesting questions and is well written.
A wonderful and profound play that requires multiple readings. Shanley's characters are starkly defined, but he writes them with such a skilled hand that they are open to many different portrayals by future generations of actors.
Michael Tadlock
I didn't read this play for the longest time because I didn't care much for the film adaptation: I thought the conflict was forced, and the answer to who was right and who was wrong felt obvious. Because of a chance, I found myself with an hour to kill at a bookstore today, and I read this in that short timeframe. I'm excited I gave it a chance, as I find most of the shortcomings from the film missing from this source material: the characters are richer, there is more ambiguity, and the conclusi ...more
Pulitzer Prize winning play, Doubt was an assigned reading in my daughter's college class. Doubt takes place in 1964 in a Catholic school in the Bronx. Sister Aloysius, the principal, is also convinced that a beloved parish priest has abused a student. Her personality is rigid and uncompromising, with glimpses of a softer side, but should her opinions be discarded? Sister Aloysius acts with certainty yet attempts to elicit information from others to obtain needed proof...creating doubt and suspi ...more
First of all, $13 for a 60-page play? That's a bit much. But it's whatever.

I found it fitting that Sister Aloysius never actually finds out if Father Flynn did it. This vague ending, of course, promotes doubt in the reader. There is no way to know for certain if, say, Flynn's ex was in town and he wanted to get away from her (him?).

If anyone reading this happens to have deciphered the symbolism behind fingernails, I would love to know. I know it means something, I just can't figure out what!
Dec 21, 2009 Jake rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
Since John Patrick Shanley penned two of my all-time favorite screenplays, Moonstruck and Joe vs. the Volcano, I’m inclined to look favorably on any new efforts of his. However, feeling a bit of media fatigue over the issue of priest molestation scandals, I wasn’t looking forward to reading this play. Still, Mr Shanley wrote Moonstruck, so I gave Doubt a try. And I was more than satisfied.

Doubt is a great play, intelligently conceived and begging to be put on its feet by good actors and director
It's been a very long time since I've been made to think that much about what I've just read. Powerful? Very. Moments of amusement, for me, came in the sermons. How simply such lessons are presented (example: the feathers as gossip). Heartbreaking was the moment with Mrs. Muller, where not only do you find out her husband beats their son, but that the son is gay. Only, for me, that wasn't what was heartbreaking: it was that Mrs. Muller accepted what she had been given, worked with it, and seemed ...more
Mad Dog
This is a killer play that packs quite a wallop in a short story. When critics say there isn't a wasted word, I agree with them. It took me about 40 mins to read this play. This book contains the 'screenplay' for the original play that showed on Broadway.

The conflicts in this play are deep, real, relevant, and endlessly discussable. I bother my wife wanting to talk about this play. She is 'going through' a conflict that contains some similarities to the main conflict of this play. We all go thr
So was assigned this play for school in my English Comp 2 class, and was surprised that I actually liked reading it. It showed the doubt in ones faith and the corrupt ways people can go out of line within the church just to get what they want even if it means ruining a person and everything they have. For school we were asked to pick the protagonist of the story and I was torn. The text book definition for protagonist was 'the character who you see most and are privileged to see in most of the s ...more
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Shanley was born in The Bronx, New York City, to a telephone operator mother and a meat-packer father. He is a graduate of New York University, and is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre.

For his script for the 1987 film, Moonstruck, Shanley won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.

In 1990, Shan
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“Doubt requires more courage than conviction does, and more energy; because conviction is a resting place and doubt is infinite – it is a passionate exercise. You may come out of my play uncertain. You may want to be sure. Look down on that feeling. We’ve got to learn to live with a full measure of uncertainty. There is no last word. That’s the silence under the chatter of our time. ” 30 likes
“If I could, Sister James, I would certainly choose to live in innocence. But innocence can only be wisdom in a world without evil. Situations arise and we are confronted with wrongdoing and the need to act.” 14 likes
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