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Pericles
Act 1, scene 3

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

The nautical tale of a wandering prince, Pericles is narrated by John Gower, a poet from the English past. Gower explains that…

Act 1, 1 chorus

Gower sets the stage for Pericles’ entrance at Antioch by telling of the incest between Antiochus and his daughter, whom…

Act 1, scene 1

Pericles risks his life to win the hand of Antiochus’s daughter, but, in meeting the challenge, he learns of the…

Act 1, scene 2

Back in his kingdom of Tyre, Pericles, fearing the power of Antiochus, sets sail once again.

Act 1, scene 3

Thaliard arrives in Tyre to find Pericles gone.

Act 1, scene 4

In Tarsus, King Cleon, Queen Dionyza, and the citizens of the country, dying of hunger, are saved by Pericles and…

Act 2, 2 chorus

Gower tells of Pericles’ departure from Tarsus and of the storm that destroys his ships and men and tosses him…

Act 2, scene 1

Fishermen in Pentapolis provide the shipwrecked Pericles with clothing and then pull his armor from the sea. They agree to…

Act 2, scene 2

At the court, Pericles and other knights present their shields to Princess Thaisa, and Pericles wins the tournament.

Act 2, scene 3

Simonides and Thaisa separately express their admiration for “the stranger knight.”

Act 2, scene 4

In Tyre, Helicanus recounts the awful deaths of Antiochus and his daughter. He then agrees to accept the crown twelve…

Act 2, scene 5

King Simonides, learning that Thaisa loves Pericles, pretends to be angry, but then reveals his pleasure at their mutual love.

Act 3, 3 chorus

Gower picks up the story on the night after Pericles and Thaisa’s wedding and carries it forward through Thaisa’s becoming…

Act 3, scene 1

In the storm, Thaisa dies in giving birth and her body is cast into the sea. To save the baby,…

Act 3, scene 2

The body of Thaisa washes ashore in Ephesus, where she is revived by a physician named Lord Cerimon.

Act 3, scene 3

Pericles leaves the infant, Marina, in the care of Cleon and Dionyza and sails for Tyre.

Act 3, scene 4

In Ephesus, Thaisa decides to become a votaress at the temple of Diana.

Act 4, 4 chorus

Gower carries the story forward fourteen years, focusing on the young Marina. Her beauty and talents arouse murderous hatred in…

Act 4, scene 1

Dionyza’s hired murderer, Leonine, is prevented from murdering Marina by pirates, who carry her away to their ship.

Act 4, scene 2

Marina is sold by the pirates to a brothel in Mytilene.

Act 4, scene 3

Dionyza, after Leonine has (falsely) reported Marina’s death, now justifies her actions to a horrified Cleon.

Act 4, scene 4

Gower tells of Pericles’ arrival in Tarsus, his learning of Marina’s death, and his vow of perpetual mourning.

Act 4, scene 5

In Mytilene, Marina preserves her virginity through eloquent pleas to her potential customers. We see the effect on two such…

Act 4, scene 6

Lysimachus, the governor of Mytilene, arrives at the brothel and is so moved (or shamed) by Marina’s eloquence that he…

Act 5, 5 chorus

Gower describes Marina’s success in Mytilene and tells of Pericles’ ship landing on Mytilene’s shores.

Act 5, scene 1

Lysimachus visits Pericles’ ship and sends for Marina, whose music he thinks will revive the grief-stricken king. When Marina tells…

Act 5, scene 2

Gower tells of the celebrations for Pericles in Mytilene and of the betrothal of Marina and Lysimachus.

Act 5, scene 3

At Diana’s temple in Ephesus, Thaisa recognizes Pericles as her husband and is reunited with him and with her daughter.

Act 5, epilogue

Gower reflects on the now-completed story and tells the fate of Cleon and Dionyza.

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Scene 3
Enter Thaliard alone.

THALIARD So this is Tyre, and this the court. Here
 must I kill King Pericles; and if I do it not, I am

31
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 1. SC. 3

 sure to be hanged at home. ’Tis dangerous. Well, I
 perceive he was a wise fellow and had good discretion
5 that, being bid to ask what he would of the
 king, desired he might know none of his secrets.
 Now do I see he had some reason for ’t, for if a
 king bid a man be a villain, he’s bound by the
 indenture of his oath to be one. Husht! Here
10 comes the lords of Tyre.He steps aside.

Enter Helicanus and Escanes, with other Lords.

HELICANUS 
 You shall not need, my fellow peers of Tyre,
 Further to question me of your king’s departure.
 His sealed commission left in trust with me
 Does speak sufficiently he’s gone to travel.
THALIARD, aside 15How? The King gone?
HELICANUS 
 If further yet you will be satisfied
 Why, as it were, unlicensed of your loves
 He would depart, I’ll give some light unto you.
 Being at Antioch—
THALIARD, aside 20What from Antioch?
HELICANUS 
 Royal Antiochus, on what cause I know not,
 Took some displeasure at him—at least he judged so;
 And doubting lest he had erred or sinned,
 To show his sorrow, he’d correct himself;
25 So puts himself unto the shipman’s toil,
 With whom each minute threatens life or death.
THALIARD, aside Well, I perceive I shall not be hanged
 now, although I would; but since he’s gone, the
 King’s ears it must please. He ’scaped the land to
30 perish at the sea. I’ll present myself.—Peace to the
 lords of Tyre!
HELICANUS 
 Lord Thaliard from Antiochus is welcome.

33
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 1. SC. 4

THALIARD From him I come with message unto princely
 Pericles, but since my landing I have understood
35 your lord has betook himself to unknown travels.
 Now message must return from whence it came.
HELICANUS We have no reason to desire it,
 Commended to our master, not to us.
 Yet ere you shall depart, this we desire:
40 As friends to Antioch, we may feast in Tyre.
They exit.