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Ben Jonson's career began in 1597 when he held a fixed engagement in the Admiral's Men, and although he was unsuccessful as an actor, his literary talent was apparent and he began writing original plays for the troupe. It is kwn that Shakespeare's company produced several of Jonson's plays, Shakespeare himself appearing in at least one, ( Every Man in His Humour ). Bartholomew Fair was written in 1614, during the time considered to be Jonson's heyday (1605-1620), and is one of the playwright's most popular works. The story takes place on St. Bartholomew's day, where in the town of Smithfield an annual fair was held. To Jonson, the fair was a representation of society. In addition to the chaotic fair itself, characters like the justice-seeking Adam Overdo; Bartholomew Cokes, a confident but witless man of means; and the hypocritical Puritan, Zeal-of-the-Land Busy, reflected the madness that the playwright saw in the world.