• This paper reflects on three crucial points of Peter Szondi’s concept of drama theory. The first has to do with literary history (Szondi ascribes the beginning of the crisis of drama to dramatists Chekhov and Ibsen); the second concerns the theory of drama (a historical play, according to Szondi, never constitutes a drama: “why is it that a historical play is always undramatic?”, he asks). The third, serving for the paper as common, is what Szondi calls the “epic ego” in the dramatic work. This paper argues that the crisis of European drama begins well before Chekhov and Ibsen, namely with Pushkin’s Boris Godunov. Pushkin’s historical play, apparently following the Shakespearean dramatic model, gradually assumes an “epic” character. I attempt to “rehabilitate” the genre of historical play and restore it the qualities of drama – in fact tragedy.