Both William Shakespeare (1564–1616) and his contemporary Chinese counterpart Tang Xianzu (1550–1616) explore three types of human lust — incest, zoophilia and greed for power but show remarkable disparities in the ways of treating them. Shakespearean plays and western classical drama in general present more severe forms of incest, whereas Tang Xianzu’s works and traditional Chinese drama as a whole are quite free from incest between blood relatives, which is muted as an abhorred violation of Confucian principles guiding family life. By contrast, Tang Xianzu demonstrates tolerance of zoophilia; whereas Shakespeare’s oblique evocation of zoophilia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream reflects his culture’s intolerance of bestiality. In regard to greed for power, Tang Xianzu’s protagonists never have political ambitions that go beyond the position of prime minister, showing no covetous desire for the throne; Shakespeare, however, includes several incidents of regicide in his plays. The paper points to the difference in the cultural contexts of the two masters lived that to a large extent determine the difference in their ways of representing these forms of lust.