Pedro Calderon de la Barca (1600-81) was a soldier, a priest and a prolific writer. He wrote more than 120 plays and over 70 autos sacramentales, or allegorical religious plays with subjects from mythology and the Old and the New Testaments. He was born in Spain and educated at a Jesuit college in Madrid. When he was in his thirties, he became the foremost dramatist of the time in Spain. He was popular both with the public and with King Philip IV, who first made him a knight of the order of Santiago and later, in 1663, chaplain of honor. One of his best known plays is La Vida es Sueno (Life Is a Dream, 1635), the story of a prince who has been kept a prisoner all his life because of a… prophecy that he will conquer his father. When the king drugs him and brings him to court to test the prophecy, the prince becomes so frenzied, he is returned to prison and convinced that the experience was a dream. When he is later released, he is confused about what is real, but ultimately, because he has learned to control his passions, his father cedes him the crown. Other memorable works include El Alcalde de Zalamea (1643) and El Magico Prodigioso (1637).