Shakespeare can also be called an author of political theatre. Not only do his history plays examine the machinations of personal drives and passions determining political activity, but many of the tragedies such as King Lear and Macbeth examine the essence of political leadership or lack thereof, and the incredible complexity of the subterfuge of which human beings are capable when they become driven by the lust for power.
In later centuries, political theatre has usually been marginalized, forced into an outsider role critical of the government or policies of its own country. Associated with the cabaret and folk theatre, it has had an aura of being a theatre of , by, and for the people, and has flourished in oppressive governments as a means of actual underground communication and spreading of critical thought. And often it has been used to promote specific political theories or ideals, for example in the way AGIT-PROP was used to further Marxism and the development of communist society. But more subtle variations of political theatre have joined the modern classical repertory - such as the highly critical dramas of Arthur Miller (The Crucible, All My Sons), which ask piercing political questions that are inseparable from existential issues involving the behavior of human beings as social and political animals. In this sense they again approach the holistic universal relevance of the early Greek political drama.