In this course we will explore ideas about power as they are reflected in selected Renaissance texts, placing a special focus on early modern drama. Among the issues we will discuss are: What is power? Where does it originate? How does it differ from closely related concepts like "authority," "right," and "sovereignty"? What are power's effects? How does power affect love and sex: how do they affect it? What role does religion play in struggles for power? What is power's relation to virtue and to truth? As we tackle these and many more questions, we will be seeking both perennial and carefully historicized answers to the problems power raises, looking for "universals" while carefully differentiating between our period and the early modern.