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Pericles
Act 2, scene 5

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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 5
Enter the King, Simonides, reading of a letter at one
door; the Knights meet him.


FIRST KNIGHT 
 Good morrow to the good Simonides.
SIMONIDES 
 Knights, from my daughter this I let you know,
 That for this twelvemonth she’ll not undertake
 A married life. Her reason to herself is only known,
5 Which from her by no means can I get.

77
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 2. SC. 5

SECOND KNIGHT 
 May we not get access to her, my lord?
SIMONIDES 
 Faith, by no means; she hath so strictly tied her
 To her chamber that ’tis impossible.
 One twelve moons more she’ll wear Diana’s livery.
10 This by the eye of Cynthia hath she vowed,
 And on her virgin honor will not break it.
THIRD KNIGHT 
 Loath to bid farewell, we take our leaves.
The Knights exit.
SIMONIDES So,
 They are well dispatched. Now to my daughter’s letter.
15 She tells me here she’ll wed the stranger knight
 Or never more to view nor day nor light.
 ’Tis well, mistress, your choice agrees with mine.
 I like that well. Nay, how absolute she’s in ’t,
 Not minding whether I dislike or no!
20 Well, I do commend her choice, and will no longer
 Have it be delayed. Soft, here he comes.
 I must dissemble it.

Enter Pericles.

PERICLES 
 All fortune to the good Simonides.
SIMONIDES 
 To you as much. Sir, I am beholding to you
25 For your sweet music this last night. I do
 Protest, my ears were never better fed
 With such delightful pleasing harmony.
PERICLES 
 It is your Grace’s pleasure to commend,
 Not my desert.
SIMONIDES 30 Sir, you are music’s master.
PERICLES 
 The worst of all her scholars, my good lord.

79
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 2. SC. 5

SIMONIDES Let me ask you one thing:
 What do you think of my daughter, sir?
PERICLES A most virtuous princess.
SIMONIDES 35And she is fair too, is she not?
PERICLES 
 As a fair day in summer, wondrous fair.
SIMONIDES 
 Sir, my daughter thinks very well of you,
 Ay, so well that you must be her master,
 And she will be your scholar. Therefore, look to it.
PERICLES 
40 I am unworthy for her schoolmaster.
SIMONIDES 
 She thinks not so. Peruse this writing else.
PERICLES, aside What’s here?
 A letter that she loves the knight of Tyre?
 ’Tis the King’s subtlety to have my life.—
45 O, seek not to entrap me, gracious lord,
 A stranger and distressèd gentleman
 That never aimed so high to love your daughter,
 But bent all offices to honor her.
SIMONIDES 
 Thou hast bewitched my daughter, and thou art
50 A villain.
PERICLES By the gods, I have not!
 Never did thought of mine levy offense;
 Nor never did my actions yet commence
 A deed might gain her love or your displeasure.
SIMONIDES 
55 Traitor, thou liest!
PERICLES  Traitor?
SIMONIDES  Ay, traitor.
PERICLES 
 Even in his throat, unless it be the King
 That calls me traitor, I return the lie.

81
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 2. SC. 5

SIMONIDES, aside 
60 Now, by the gods, I do applaud his courage.
PERICLES 
 My actions are as noble as my thoughts,
 That never relished of a base descent.
 I came unto your court for honor’s cause,
 And not to be a rebel to her state,
65 And he that otherwise accounts of me,
 This sword shall prove he’s honor’s enemy.
SIMONIDES No?
 Here comes my daughter. She can witness it.

Enter Thaisa.

PERICLES 
 Then as you are as virtuous as fair,
70 Resolve your angry father if my tongue
 Did e’er solicit or my hand subscribe
 To any syllable that made love to you.
THAISA 
 Why, sir, say if you had, who takes offense
 At that would make me glad?
SIMONIDES 
75 Yea, mistress, are you so peremptory?
 (Aside.) I am glad on ’t with all my heart.—
 I’ll tame you! I’ll bring you in subjection.
 Will you, not having my consent,
 Bestow your love and your affections
80 Upon a stranger? (Aside.) Who, for aught I know,
 May be—nor can I think the contrary—
 As great in blood as I myself.—
 Therefore, hear you, mistress: either frame
 Your will to mine—and you, sir, hear you:
85 Either be ruled by me—or I’ll make you
 Man and wife.
 Nay, come, your hands and lips must seal it too.
 And being joined, I’ll thus your hopes destroy.

83
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 2. SC. 5

 And for further grief—God give you joy!
90 What, are you both pleased?
THAISA Yes, (to Pericles) if you love me, sir.
PERICLES 
 Even as my life my blood that fosters it.
SIMONIDES What, are you both agreed?
BOTH Yes, if ’t please your Majesty.
SIMONIDES 
95 It pleaseth me so well that I will see you wed,
 And then with what haste you can, get you to bed.
They exit.