Tawfiq Al-Hakim Egyptian Playwright

Tawfiq Al-Hakim is known to be the most inspiring and well known Egyptian Playwright in Egypts history.Al-Hakim was born in 1898 in Alexandria Egypt and was a son to a wealthy judge in Egypt. Following in his fathers footsteps he majored in Law in Cairo in the year of 1925 and eventually Paris shortly after. He was a deputy prosecutor when he returned and while doing constitutional work he also wrote on the side. While transferring to civil courts he was able to travel and even work as a journalist in the Akhbar-El Yom Paper. Many may wonder how well Al-Hakim wrote poems,novels, essays and known to be an incentive at playwriting and with that he developed the aspect of Arabic drama.

Al-Hakim quit his job in the Law field and dedicated his life into his writing due to his dedication won the hearts of many with his numerous plays that include 

  • Ahl al-Kahf (1933; “The People of the Cave”),
  •  Al-Malik Udib (1939; “King Oedipus”),
  • Sulaymān al-Ḥakim(1934; “Solomon the Wise”)
  • Sirr al-muntahirah (1937; “The Secret of the Suicide Girl”) 
  • Ruṣāṣah fī al-Qalb (1944; “A Bullet in the Heart”)
  •  Muḥammad (1936)

 Hakims plays were mainly based on themes that were represented by Greek legends, The quran and the history of the Middle east in order to produce play that can be seen as tolerable by the condemning structure in Egypt which is known to be literature that is dramatic.His very first play is known as Ahl-al-kahf which means The People of the Cave he based this play off of the Greek legend known as Ephesus and the seven sleepers in which that play was based on people waking up from a long sleep finding themselves in a different era which is that of chirtsians. Hakim’s version is based on the sura 18 of the Quran.which causes tension in the 1930s as if it is traditional literacy which means did it display social and political issues.Many bought up the topic of why he plays aren’t displayed and played live in action and states that play were first intended in reading and liked it that way.

Later in his career he released action and events which allowed him to have several plays later in the future played live such as the Tree Climber which was successful as it had dramatic language as his use of standard language of literary in the form of dialogue allowed him to have an unreal sense of nature within the play logic which was very much noticeable.

Hakim was so favored by the president at the time Nassar during the revolution that his play allowed for social and political change in Egypt and displayed such a thing. Theatre and his plays were outlets to express that of concerns by the public and can not be controlled like the media. In the 1950s it was known as the golden era for the Arabic aspect of drama and Egyptian drama.What made Hakim so unique is that he went against societal norms and became a playwright which is known to be unworthy and not a good profession in egypt at the time but he ended up making a reputation for himself. At first Hakim wrote his very own writing anonymously within the years of the early 1920s and it included plays by the Ukashah Brothers; he doesn’t like those works of writings of his as it was never published or seen. Hakim is an important legacy in the field of literature in Arabic due to his techniques in expression and language as well as his role in theatre in which he is known to be the founder of literacy traditions.Hakim through his time and contribution in European theatre allowed him to have a mix of european traditions in his palsy specifically that of The People of the Cave. His main plays were about the transformation of social reform in egypt during the revolution of 1952 in which the plays talks about a price that was a part of a daily role but now doesn’t know his play within a normal society.


Overall Hakim has showed us that no matter what societal norms may be you can go against it to make your dreams come true and speak on issues within your society through play writing that many may fear to speak upon and with that he was able to become one of the most well renowned playwrights in Egypt.

“The 20th Century and Beyond.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/art/Arabic-literature/The-20th-century-and-beyond. 

“Autobiography.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/art/autobiography-literature. 

“Modern Arab Writers: Tawfiq Al-Hakim.” Al, https://al-bab.com/modern-arab-writers-tawfiq-al-hakim. 

Global Research Methodology Journal … – Grmgrlaranya.org. http://grmgrlaranya.org/Journals/4th%20issue/A%20Study%20on%20Boro%20%20Ethnic%20Clothes%20and%20Costume_%20A%20survey%20study.pdf.