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Pericles
Act 2, scene 2

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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 2
Enter King Simonides, with Lords, Attendants,
and Thaisa.


SIMONIDES 
 Are the knights ready to begin the triumph?
FIRST LORD They are, my liege,
 And stay your coming to present themselves.
SIMONIDES 
 Return them we are ready, and our daughter here,
5 In honor of whose birth these triumphs are,
 Sits here like Beauty’s child, whom Nature gat
 For men to see and, seeing, wonder at.
An Attendant exits.
THAISA 
 It pleaseth you, my royal father, to express
 My commendations great, whose merit’s less.
SIMONIDES 
10 It’s fit it should be so, for princes are
 A model which heaven makes like to itself.
 As jewels lose their glory if neglected,
 So princes their renowns if not respected.
 ’Tis now your honor, daughter, to entertain
15 The labor of each knight in his device.
THAISA 
 Which to preserve mine honor, I’ll perform.

The first Knight passes by. His Squire presents a shield
to Thaisa.


SIMONIDES 
 Who is the first that doth prefer himself?
THAISA 
 A knight of Sparta, my renownèd father,
 And the device he bears upon his shield
20 Is a black Ethiop reaching at the sun;
 The word: Lux tua vita mihi.

59
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 2. SC. 2

SIMONIDES 
 He loves you well that holds his life of you.

The second Knight passes by. His Squire presents a
shield to Thaisa.


 Who is the second that presents himself?
THAISA 
 A prince of Macedon, my royal father,
25 And the device he bears upon his shield
 Is an armed knight that’s conquered by a lady.
 The motto thus, in Spanish: Pue per doleera kee per
 forsa
.

The third Knight passes by. His Squire presents a shield
to Thaisa.


SIMONIDES 
 And what’s the third?
THAISA 30 The third, of Antioch;
 And his device a wreath of chivalry;
 The word: Me pompae provexit apex.

The fourth Knight passes by. His Squire presents a
shield to Thaisa.


SIMONIDES What is the fourth?
THAISA 
 A burning torch that’s turnèd upside down;
35 The word: Qui me alit me extinguit.
SIMONIDES 
 Which shows that beauty hath his power and will,
 Which can as well inflame as it can kill.

The fifth Knight passes by. His Squire presents a shield
to Thaisa.


THAISA 
 The fifth, an hand environèd with clouds,
 Holding out gold that’s by the touchstone tried;
40 The motto thus: Sic spectanda fides.

61
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 2. SC. 2

The sixth Knight, Pericles, passes by. He presents a
shield to Thaisa.


SIMONIDES 
 And what’s the sixth and last, the which the knight
 himself
 With such a graceful courtesy delivered?
THAISA 
 He seems to be a stranger; but his present is
45 A withered branch that’s only green at top,
 The motto: In hac spe vivo.
SIMONIDES A pretty moral.
 From the dejected state wherein he is,
 He hopes by you his fortunes yet may flourish.
FIRST LORD 
50 He had need mean better than his outward show
 Can any way speak in his just commend,
 For by his rusty outside he appears
 To have practiced more the whipstock than the lance.
SECOND LORD 
 He well may be a stranger, for he comes
55 To an honored triumph strangely furnishèd.
THIRD LORD 
 And on set purpose let his armor rust
 Until this day, to scour it in the dust.
SIMONIDES 
 Opinion’s but a fool that makes us scan
 The outward habit by the inward man.
60 But stay, the knights are coming.
 We will withdraw into the gallery.
They exit.

Great shouts offstage, and all cry, “The mean knight.”