This course seeks to place some representative Jacobean dramas in the culture of their times. We shall ask how conditions of performance by child and adult acting companies in outdoor and indoor theaters as well as at court affect the responses of the audience. We shall examine how the plays situate themselves in relation to some of the period's vexing problems, such as the notions of gender and marriage, the exercise of power (in its religious, social, economic, as well as political aspects). The plays to be discussed are: Ben Jonson's Volpone, The Alchemist, Epicoene, and Bartholomew Fair, John Webster's The White Devil and The Duchess of Malfi, Thomas Middleton's A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, and The Changeling, and John Ford's `Tis Pity She's A Whore, George Chapman's The Widow's Tears, and Tourneur's (or Middleton's ) The Revenger's Tragedy. Some familiarity with Shakespeare would be helpfuul, but not necessary. Two papers, midterm, final examination.