A play by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karel_%C4%8Capek Karel Capek]], set mostly in an island where they [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin manufacture]] [[ArtificialHuman artificial people]] called [[TropeNamer robots]], which was released in book form in 1920 and premiered in [[OlderThanTelevision 1921]]. ''R.U.R.'' - a.k.a. ''Rossum's Universal Robots'' - tells a story we might be familiar with.

Man makes robots. [[TurnedAgainstTheirMasters Robots overthrow man]].

It opens up in the island where Helena Glory, a member of the League of Humanity, pleads with Harry Domin (or Domain; the General Manager of R.U.R.) for rights for the robots, believing they are people being enslaved. He reveals to her that [[UncannyValley the robots aren't human, although they look convincingly like them.]]

Harry explains that while the original inventor Rossum wanted to create a living, working human from synthetic protoplasm that dogs won't eat, his nephew thought that it'd be easier to create simplified human bodies from that same stuff. Harry then explains that this is a good thing; with robots doing all the work, man will overcome the need for toil and poverty will end because robots don't need to be paid, thus making goods cost nothing.

She also meets the human staff of the factory: physiologist and inventor Dr. Gall, robot psychiatrist Dr. Hallemeier ([[SpellMyNameWithAnS or]] [[WhatdoyouMeanItsNotSymbolic Hellman]]), clerk of the works Alquist (the only guy sensible enough to work with his hands), the chief engineer, and managing director Jacob Berman. They're the only other humans in the factory.

After Harry's lecture, she is convinced that the robots really are mindless machines, and her movement was a waste of money. [[LoveAtFirstSight They marry.]]

Apparently, the robots lacked the ability to sense pain, something which was really counterproductive when robots ended up unintentionally destroying themselves. So they were redesigned to feel exactly that. And then the governments of the world decided that they'd make great soldiers. Outside the island, a rogue robot, Damon, organizes a rebellion. By the time Harry, Helena, and the staff find out... well...

The robots spare Alquist because he does manual labor like them. The robots then found out that the formula for their manufacture was lost (it was destroyed by Helena; Harry wanted to use that as a bargaining tool). Lacking the knowledge to manufacture themselves, with a lifespan of only 10 years, and relying solely on the only human left, the robots seemed doomed...
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!! ''R.U.R.'' provides examples of:

* AIIsACrapshoot: "Robot tick", a "disease" the robots had when they were first built to feel pain, which pretty much led to sentience. Then they rebel.
* ArtificialHuman: Unlike modern conceptions of robots, the robots of R.U.R. are more like this; they function like living things, but their blood, skin, and organs are still manufactured, and they're treated like machines.
* ChekhovsSkill:
** One of Gall's experimental robots, Radius, was rather violent. Guess who was responsible for the massacre at the factory?
** Alquist started to make walls as a hobby, because manual labor made him feel better. Radius decides to spare him, because he "works with his hands like the robots".
* CrushKillDestroy
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: Aside from Alquist, every main character dies - almost all offstage.
* FourthDateMarriage: Harry proposes to Helena during the first time they meet.
* HollywoodAtheist: Rossum created artificial humans because he was a materialist, and wanted to prove that God is not needed for the creation of man.
* JustAMachine: Harry and the rest of the company hold this sentiment until the bitter end. Alquist, who survives, keeps this until he sees Primus and Helena falling in love.
* KillAllHumans: The proclamation of the rebelling robots contains this: "Robots of the world, we enjoin you to exterminate mankind. Don't spare the men. Don't spare the women. Retain all factories, railway lines, machines and equipment, mines and raw materials. All else should be destroyed."
* LastOfHisKind: In the third act, Alquist is the only human left in the world.
* LuddWasRight: Even before the robots revolted against humanity, their influence was bad for society. Because nobody had to work anymore, people became hedonists, and women stopped having children.
* MassOhCrap: The men at the factory believe that the robot uprising has been put down because the mail boat arrived on time. [[spoiler: The boat turns out to be stuffed to the gills with copies of the Robot Manifesto.]]
* MeaningfulName: Rossum is derived from the Czech "rozum" meaning "reason". Domin is derived from the Latin "dominus" meaning "master of the house." Robot is derived from the word "robota" which was forced labor for ordinary people on the fields of the nobility (the English equivalent would be "serfdom").
* MegaCorp: R.U.R. itself.
* NamedAfterSomebodyFamous: The people at R.U.R. named a robot Marius and a robot girl Sulla because they thought Marius and Sulla were lovers. Helena points out that they were both Roman generals, and they fought with each other.
* {{Neologism}}: The word "robot" first appeared in this play. According to Čapek, it was his brother, Josef, who came up with it.
* NoPlansNoPrototypeNoBackup:
** The robots can only be manufactured following a recipe that is kept secret by the company. Harry wanted to use this to their advantage.
** The rebellion itself was rendered pointless because the robots [[HoistByHisOwnPetard killed the very people that ran the facility they were manufactured in.]]
* OrganicTechnology: Sort of.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted. [[NamesTheSame Helena has a robot named after her.]]
* ThePowerOfLove: AfterTheEnd, Alquist discovers that two robots were in love and [[AdamAndEvePlot were the hope for their race as the new Adam and Eve]].
* PunnyName: Fabry, the chief engineer.
* RidiculouslyHumanRobots: Duh.
* RoboSpeak: According to Čapek's instructions, the robots are "slightly mechanical in their speech". They don't use contractions, except for Helena and Primus at the end.
* RobotGirl: [[NamesTheSame Helena]], a robot made by Dr. Gall in Helena Domin's likeness; in the beginning, there was Sulla, the robot secretary.
* RobotMaid: Helena tells Harry of how she observed a robot janitor. Presumably, this is what they're used for, among other things like manual labor and odd jobs people would rather not do.
* RoboRomance: Primus and Helena.
* RoboticPsychopath: Radius is arguably an example.
* RobotRebellion: The TropeNamer.
* SecretTestOfCharacter: Alquist does this to Primus and Helena; he tells one that he wants to [[TheyWouldCutYouUp cut up the other]] [[IDidWhatIHadToDo to find out how to replicate the process of robot manufacture]]. They offer each other to be cut up in their place, and then threaten him if ever he tries to harm them, proving that they love each other.
* SoleSurvivingScientist: Alquist is treated like this by the robots, who want him to figure out how they could reproduce. However, he's not actually a scientist, and he doesn't have the knowledge or skill to do so.
* TheyWouldCutYouUp: Inverted. The leader of the robot government, Damon, asks Alquist to dissect him in order to find out how to make more robots. Alquist tries it, but breaks down in the middle.
* TurnedAgainstTheirMasters: The TropeCodifier.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: Harry says that Rossum first created artificial tissue in 1932. The story is set several years later (not exactly specified how many).
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Harry.
* WeWillUseManualLaborInTheFuture
* WhatMeasureIsANonhuman: Helena wanted to call the company out on exactly this until she found out that it was useless.
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