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Jacobean Tragedy explores the tensions between the disruptive energies of sex and seventeenth century social, cultural and political values with an exceptional frankness, and the plays collected in this volume demonstrate the genre at its most sinister and explicit. The Insatiate Countess (1610), by William Barksted and Lewis Machin from a draft by John Marston, is a study in obsessive nymphomania and the reprisals taken by the male establishment. The Maid's Tragedy (1611) by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, reveals dark sexual secrets at the heart of the royal court, and emphasizes the political instability which ensues their discovery. Thomas Middleton's The Maiden's Tragedy (1611) provides an overtly Christian dimension to the conflict between lust and chastity, and John Fletcher's The Tragedy of Valentinian (1614) is a chilling portrayal of rape as the exercise of absolute power. Each play raises difficult questions about conventional moral and social attitudes to sexuality which remain relevant today.