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Pericles
Act 3, scene 1

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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 1
Enter Pericles, a-shipboard.

PERICLES 
 The god of this great vast, rebuke these surges,
 Which wash both heaven and hell! And thou that hast
 Upon the winds command, bind them in brass,
 Having called them from the deep! O, still
5 Thy deaf’ning dreadful thunders, gently quench
 Thy nimble sulfurous flashes.—O, how, Lychorida,
 How does my queen?—Then, storm, venomously
 Wilt thou spit all thyself? The seaman’s whistle
 Is as a whisper in the ears of death,
10 Unheard.—Lychorida!—Lucina, O
 Divinest patroness and midwife gentle
 To those that cry by night, convey thy deity
 Aboard our dancing boat, make swift the pangs
 Of my queen’s travails!—Now, Lychorida!

Enter Lychorida, carrying an infant.

LYCHORIDA 
15 Here is a thing too young for such a place,
 Who, if it had conceit, would die, as I

93
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 3. SC. 1

 Am like to do. Take in your arms this piece
 Of your dead queen.
PERICLES  How? How, Lychorida?
LYCHORIDA 
20 Patience, good sir. Do not assist the storm.
 Here’s all that is left living of your queen,
 A little daughter. For the sake of it,
 Be manly and take comfort.
PERICLES  O you gods!
25 Why do you make us love your goodly gifts
 And snatch them straight away? We here below
 Recall not what we give, and therein may
 Use honor with you.
LYCHORIDA  Patience, good sir,
30 Even for this charge.She hands him the infant.
PERICLES, to the infant  Now mild may be thy life,
 For a more blusterous birth had never babe.
 Quiet and gentle thy conditions, for
 Thou art the rudeliest welcome to this world
35 That ever was prince’s child. Happy what follows!
 Thou hast as chiding a nativity
 As fire, air, water, earth, and heaven can make
 To herald thee from the womb.
 Even at the first, thy loss is more than can
40 Thy portage quit, with all thou canst find here.
 Now the good gods throw their best eyes upon ’t.

Enter two Sailors.

FIRST SAILOR What courage, sir? God save you.
PERICLES 
 Courage enough. I do not fear the flaw.
 It hath done to me the worst. Yet for the love
45 Of this poor infant, this fresh new seafarer,
 I would it would be quiet.
FIRST SAILOR Slack the bowlines there!—Thou wilt not,
 wilt thou? Blow, and split thyself!

95
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 3. SC. 1

SECOND SAILOR But searoom, an the brine and cloudy
50 billow kiss the moon, I care not.
FIRST SAILOR Sir, your queen must overboard. The sea
 works high, the wind is loud, and will not lie till
 the ship be cleared of the dead.
PERICLES That’s your superstition.
FIRST SAILOR 55Pardon us, sir; with us at sea it hath been
 still observed, and we are strong in custom.
 Therefore briefly yield ’er, for she must overboard
 straight.
PERICLES As you think meet.—Most wretched queen!
LYCHORIDA 60Here she lies, sir.
PERICLES 
 A terrible childbed hast thou had, my dear,
 No light, no fire. Th’ unfriendly elements
 Forgot thee utterly. Nor have I time
 To give thee hallowed to thy grave, but straight
65 Must cast thee, scarcely coffined, in the ooze,
 Where, for a monument upon thy bones
 And e’er-remaining lamps, the belching whale
 And humming water must o’erwhelm thy corpse,
 Lying with simple shells.—O, Lychorida,
70 Bid Nestor bring me spices, ink, and paper,
 My casket and my jewels; and bid Nicander
 Bring me the satin coffin. Lay the babe
 Upon the pillow. Hie thee, whiles I say
 A priestly farewell to her. Suddenly, woman!
Lychorida exits.
SECOND SAILOR 75Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches,
 caulked and bitumed ready.
PERICLES 
 I thank thee, mariner. Say, what coast is this?
SECOND SAILOR We are near Tarsus.
PERICLES Thither, gentle mariner.
80 Alter thy course for Tyre. When canst thou reach it?
SECOND SAILOR By break of day if the wind cease.

97
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 3. SC. 2

PERICLES O, make for Tarsus!
 There will I visit Cleon, for the babe
 Cannot hold out to Tyrus. There I’ll leave it
85 At careful nursing. Go thy ways, good mariner.
 I’ll bring the body presently.
They exit.