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Pericles
Act 2, 2 chorus

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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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2 Chorus
Enter Gower.

GOWER 
 Here have you seen a mighty king
 His child, iwis, to incest bring;
 A better prince and benign lord
 That will prove awful both in deed and word.
5 Be quiet, then, as men should be,
 Till he hath passed necessity.
 I’ll show you those in troubles reign,
 Losing a mite, a mountain gain.
 The good in conversation,
10 To whom I give my benison,
 Is still at Tarsus, where each man
 Thinks all is Writ he speken can,
 And, to remember what he does,
 Build his statue to make him glorious.
15 But tidings to the contrary
 Are brought your eyes. What need speak I?

Dumb Show.


Enter at one door Pericles talking with Cleon, all the
train with them. Enter at another door a Gentleman,
with a letter to Pericles. Pericles shows the letter to
Cleon. Pericles gives the Messenger a reward and knights
him. Pericles exits at one door, and Cleon at another.


43

45
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Good Helicane, that stayed at home—
 Not to eat honey like a drone
 From others’ labors, for though he strive
20 To killen bad, keep good alive,
 And to fulfill his prince’ desire—
 Sends word of all that haps in Tyre:
 How Thaliard came full bent with sin,
 And had intent to murder him;
25 And that in Tarsus was not best
 Longer for him to make his rest.
 He, doing so, put forth to seas,
 Where when men been there’s seldom ease;
 For now the wind begins to blow;
30 Thunder above and deeps below
 Makes such unquiet that the ship
 Should house him safe is wracked and split,
 And he, good prince, having all lost,
 By waves from coast to coast is tossed.
35 All perishen of man, of pelf,
 Ne aught escapend but himself;
 Till Fortune, tired with doing bad,
 Threw him ashore to give him glad.
 And here he comes. What shall be next,
40 Pardon old Gower—this ’longs the text.
He exits.