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Pericles
Act 4, 4 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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4 Chorus
Enter Gower.

GOWER 
 Imagine Pericles arrived at Tyre,
 Welcomed and settled to his own desire.
 His woeful queen we leave at Ephesus,
 Unto Diana there ’s a votaress.
5 Now to Marina bend your mind,
 Whom our fast-growing scene must find
 At Tarsus, and by Cleon trained
 In music, letters; who hath gained
 Of education all the grace
10 Which makes high both the art and place
 Of general wonder. But, alack,
 That monster envy, oft the wrack
 Of earnèd praise, Marina’s life
 Seeks to take off by treason’s knife.
15 And in this kind our Cleon hath
 One daughter and a full grown wench,
 Even ripe for marriage rite. This maid
 Hight Philoten, and it is said
 For certain in our story she
20 Would ever with Marina be.
 Be ’t when they weaved the sleided silk
 With fingers long, small, white as milk;
 Or when she would with sharp needle wound
 The cambric, which she made more sound
115

117
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 4. SC. 1

25 By hurting it; or when to the lute
 She sung, and made the night bird mute,
 That still records with moan; or when
 She would with rich and constant pen
 Vail to her mistress Dian, still
30 This Philoten contends in skill
 With absolute Marina. So
 With the dove of Paphos might the crow
 Vie feathers white. Marina gets
 All praises, which are paid as debts
35 And not as given. This so darks
 In Philoten all graceful marks
 That Cleon’s wife, with envy rare,
 A present murderer does prepare
 For good Marina, that her daughter
40 Might stand peerless by this slaughter.
 The sooner her vile thoughts to stead,
 Lychorida, our nurse, is dead,
 And cursèd Dionyza hath
 The pregnant instrument of wrath
45 Prest for this blow. The unborn event
 I do commend to your content.
 Only I carry wingèd Time
 Post on the lame feet of my rhyme,
 Which never could I so convey
50 Unless your thoughts went on my way.
 Dionyza does appear,
 With Leonine, a murderer.
He exits.