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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  16,939 ratings  ·  417 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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Average rating 4.14  · 
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Doubt: a parable, John Patrick Shanley
Doubt, A Parable is a 2004 play by John Patrick Shanley. Originally staged off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club on November 23, 2004, the production transferred to the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway in March 2005 and closed on July 2, 2006, after 525 performances and 25 previews. The play won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. The play was turned into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as
Bill Kerwin
Jan 23, 2009 rated it really liked it

A thought-provoking play about the Catholic Church in the 60's that is true to its title by refusing to settle for easy answers.
Wow! Gripping drama all the way!

I don't read many plays; as a matter of fact, this is only my third one (lame I know) but after reading DOUBT I definitely intend to knock-off a few on my to-read list in 2016.

Set in 1964 at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, this thought-provoking story involving two nuns, a priest and the mother of a young black boy, reads like an intense investigative mystery maintaining a high level of "questionable" suspicion throughout, and the formidable presence of Sister

Brian Yahn
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
If Doubt taught me anything, it's never mess with a nun.

In what sounds like a total snooze-fest, John Patrick Shanley pits a vetted nun against a questionably liberal priest, and in just a few pages, he creates the exact opposite: a page-turning drama that's more than surface deep. He twists a giant knot of tension by intertwining four highly conflicting desires, none of which are clearly malicious or just.

Doubt makes you doubt every character's motives, question the integrity of their actions,
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it

“Aren’t the things that actually happen in life more worthy of interpretation than a made-up story?”

“No. What actually happens in life is beyond interpretation. The truth makes for a bad sermon.”

Riveting and virtually flawless. Perhaps a little short if anything - but its brevity doubtless key to its impact.
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
3.5 stars, rounded up.

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- reading a play doesn't give you the nuance you get when you participate in or watch a performance. The words are good (and there are some fantastic monologues), but tone and vocal inflection are EVERYTHING.
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 ...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
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots to think about and discuss. Never mind having the high school kids perform it, just have them read it and argue about it. The most engaging question might be whether or not Mrs. Mueller was right to say 'only until June' but there are plenty of other questions raised, too. Engaging, concise, topical.

Plays can be great, since they really do need to skip all sorts of narration, descriptions of scenery, etc. This one is exemplary: only four characters, short property list, only four sound
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: play, pulitzer
"Despite the National Review Board's own estimates that there have been some 5,000 abusive priests in the US, to date 150 have been successfully prosecuted."
- The Guardian,2006

Last year when I was watching the movie "spotlight", I was horrified beyond my senses by the atrocities done by those who were involved in the act as well as in the cover up. While the movie portrays true events on how an outside party tried to stop the darkness, this fictional drama portrays an inside party (sister
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Casey Harvey
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books, drama
The best thing about this play is its subtlety. Throughout, the issue at hand is never explicitly said, however the audience can infer quite early on what the unnameable thing is, and that makes the dance around it that much more eloquent and haunting.
Bert Z
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So good! Incredibly well written and thrilling, one of my favourite plays, I hope one day I get to see a production of it. The dialogue between Sister Aloysius and Father Flynn is the stuff great plays are made off.

It’s a brisk and brilliant masterpiece!
Kelly Armstrong
Aug 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I really like this play. Can't believe it has taken this long for me to read it!!! Love Shanley's writing style. Don't skip the introduction (must admit I am guilty of this) there is some good stuff there.
Jan 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, pithy but powerful. Definitely looking forward to seeing how the film adaptation with Meryl Streep, Amy Adams and Phil Seymour Hersh goes.

For Catholics, a great must-read (Note: I'm Baptist).
Justin Walshaw
Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I think I read it, I'm . . . unsure.
A Ab.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The playwright John Patrick Shanley, in the preface of his excellent play: Doubt A Parable, about his own experience in a Catholic church run by the Sisters of Charity, writes: “looking back, it seems to me, in those schools…we were all adults and we were all children.We had flocked together for warmth and safety.As a result we were vulnerable to anyone who chose to hunt us. When trust is the order of the day, predators are free to plunder. And plunder they did. As the ever widening Church ...more
Jan 04, 2016 added it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2015
I read Doubt, A Parable, as part of a book challenge. It was a 2005 Pulitzer Prize Winner in the category of drama. While short in terms of pages, it is long with respect to impact, creating tension and provoking thought – quite masterful really for so few words.

As a drama, the book is 99% dialogue interspersed with stage directions. It features only four characters. And yet, the author is able to craft a tightly written mystery filled with interest and drama. It reads very much like an
Laura Grable
Oct 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
M.R. Rutter
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An amazing book. It's content and plot revolving around the controversies of the Catholic clergy in boy's schools and the fear that one teacher has committed the unspeakable. As her doubts mount, those in power keep working to destroy the priest. It's a powerfully disturbing story that is so gripping you can't put it down.
Dec 12, 2017 rated it liked it
A play by John P. Shanley. Interesting but very short story (I read this for school).
Kamryn Koble
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-for-school
I devoured this script during two separate 2 AM reading sessions. Naturally, I'm obsessed with nuns, but this drama was still excellently paced and poignantly delivered.
Desiree Rico
Apr 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this extraordinary play asks a lot of moral questions but doesn't give you any answers. instead the author leaves it to the reader/ audience to continue the discussion long after the play ends.
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
bro................ wow
crazy :0
crazy stuff
cannot believe..... wow
sorry ms hartigan for reading this early. couldn't help myself
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. I read Doubt for a class and was pretty impressed with it. I'm writing a paper on this for school, so I'm not going to write a whole review for this.
Christian Engler
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes a media blitzkrieg on a particular issue, in this case, the unraveling clergy sex scandal within the Catholic Church, can be so over dominant to the extreme that the genuine horror of its totality and those directly and indirectly affected, can regrettably seem like an unreality, a movie scene where human detachment is at its strongest. Where the media oftentimes fails to evoke a mood of empathy and personal involvement to what they are reporting--as they are covering facts--art, ...more
Mary Slowik
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Playwrights-in-training
Shelves: drama, borrowed
December of Drama 2015, day nineteen

"I think of what you do all day
I wonder if what you say is true
You always get what you want
I can't trust you
--True Lies, by The New Division

My oh my. This is drama in the truest sense. Tight and intense and honest. It rolls along with the momentum of conflict growing all the time (stakes being raised) and plenty of gasp-inducing moments for the audience. My four star rating doesn't indicate that I think there's anything wrong with the play-- it's flawless.
Aug 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays, pulitzer
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,
Ross Bonaime
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
John Patrick Shanley might be one of my favorite screenwriters, as he can do extremely broad comedy (Joe Versus the Volcano), serious, powerful dramas (Doubt), and everything in between (Moonstruck) with equal greatness. This is the first play of Shanley's that I've read and while the material is certainly captivating and important, I don't know that it stuck with me in the same way as actually seeing Shanley's work. Even by play standards, Doubt is incredibly short, to a point that it almost ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: # 8 - Doubt 1 3 Feb 05, 2015 04:19PM  

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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,
“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. ” 34 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.” 21 likes
More quotes…