This course explores the development and apogee of the theater as a cultural phenomenon in early modern Spain. This period saw the flourishing of some of Spain’s greatest playwrights including Lope de Vega, who is said to have written some 500 plays, Tirso de Molina, who gave life to the Don Juan myth that inspired Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Calderón de la Barca, whom Goethe regarded as high as Shakespeare. Even Miguel de Cervantes tried his hand at the theater prior to penning his masterpiece, Don Quijote. We will follow the life of the theater from the early morality plays performed for religious festivals up to the lavish secular performances of works that focus on popular themes such as nobility, honor, and jealousy. We will study the debates over drama as a generic form and the cultural history surrounding the construction of the first public theater houses. Comparison with other dramatic traditions will be encouraged.