Don Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600-81) was, with Lope de Vega, the greatest exponent of Spanish Golden Age drama. Professor Parker's essays are the fruits of a highly distinguished career spanning forty-five years. They provide a wide-ranging survey of Calderón's secular, three-act plays (comedias) through detailed analyses of individual works. The themes found in the plays are studied in relation to the background of ideas in seventeenth-century Spain and to the development of Calderón's own view of the intellectual life and the social, ethical and moral problems of this age. From the tensions of Calderón's early family life and his intellectual struggle with the associated problems, the book passes to the wider tensions in the social and political life of his time, and concludes with a demonstration of how Calderón raises all these human problems onto a wide 'philosophical' level through his use of myths and symbols.