The Death of Ivan the Terrible (Смерть Иоанна Грозного) is a historical drama by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy written in 1863 and first published in the January 1866 issue of Otechestvennye zapiski magazine. It is the first part of a trilogy that is followed by Tsar Fiodor Ioannovich and concludes with Tsar Boris. All three plays were banned by the censor. It dramatises the story of Ivan IV of Russia and is written in blank verse. Tolstoy was influenced by the work of William Shakespeare in writing the trilogy, which formed the core of his reputation as a writer in the Russia of his day and as a dramatist to this day.
In the early 1863 Aleksey Tolstoy informed Yakov Polonsky in a letter from Dresden that he was working upon "a large poem in verse The Death of Ioann Grozny… Two acts of it are being finished and, as people tell me, are good", he added. The deterioration of health hindered the creative process, but Act 3 has been completed by the summe