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Pericles
Act 3, 3 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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3 Chorus
Enter Gower.

GOWER 
 Now sleep yslackèd hath the rout;
 No din but snores about the house,
 Made louder by the o’erfed breast
 Of this most pompous marriage feast.
5 The cat with eyne of burning coal
 Now couches from the mouse’s hole,
 And crickets sing at the oven’s mouth
 Are the blither for their drouth.
 Hymen hath brought the bride to bed,
10 Where, by the loss of maidenhead,
 A babe is molded. Be attent,
 And time that is so briefly spent
 With your fine fancies quaintly eche.
 What’s dumb in show I’ll plain with speech.

Dumb Show.


Enter Pericles and Simonides at one door with
Attendants. A Messenger meets them, kneels, and gives
Pericles a letter. Pericles shows it Simonides. The Lords
kneel to him; then enter Thaisa with child, with
Lychorida, a nurse. The King shows her the letter. She
rejoices. She and Pericles take leave of her father, and
depart with Lychorida and their Attendants. Then
Simonides and the others exit.


87

89
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 3. CHOR.

15 By many a dern and painful perch
 Of Pericles the careful search,
 By the four opposing coigns
 Which the world together joins,
 Is made with all due diligence
20 That horse and sail and high expense
 Can stead the quest. At last from Tyre,
 Fame answering the most strange enquire,
 To th’ court of King Simonides
 Are letters brought, the tenor these:
25 Antiochus and his daughter dead,
 The men of Tyrus on the head
 Of Helicanus would set on
 The crown of Tyre, but he will none.
 The mutiny he there hastes t’ oppress,
30 Says to ’em, if King Pericles
 Come not home in twice six moons,
 He, obedient to their dooms,
 Will take the crown. The sum of this,
 Brought hither to Pentapolis,
35 Y-ravishèd the regions round,
 And everyone with claps can sound,
 “Our heir apparent is a king!
 Who dreamt, who thought of such a thing?”
 Brief, he must hence depart to Tyre.
40 His queen, with child, makes her desire—
 Which who shall cross?—along to go.
 Omit we all their dole and woe.
 Lychorida, her nurse, she takes,
 And so to sea. Their vessel shakes
45 On Neptune’s billow. Half the flood
 Hath their keel cut. But Fortune, moved,
 Varies again. The grizzled North
 Disgorges such a tempest forth
 That, as a duck for life that dives,
50 So up and down the poor ship drives.

91
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 3. SC. 1

 The lady shrieks and, well-anear,
 Does fall in travail with her fear.
 And what ensues in this fell storm
 Shall for itself itself perform.
55 I nill relate; action may
 Conveniently the rest convey,
 Which might not what by me is told.
 In your imagination hold
 This stage the ship upon whose deck
60 The sea-tossed Pericles appears to speak.
He exits.