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Pericles
Act 4, scene 3

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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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Scene 3
Enter Cleon and Dionyza.

DIONYZA 
 Why, are you foolish? Can it be undone?
CLEON 
 O Dionyza, such a piece of slaughter
 The sun and moon ne’er looked upon!
DIONYZA I think you’ll turn a child again.
CLEON 
5 Were I chief lord of all this spacious world,
 I’d give it to undo the deed. A lady
 Much less in blood than virtue, yet a princess
 To equal any single crown o’ th’ Earth
 I’ the justice of compare. O villain Leonine,
10 Whom thou hast poisoned too!
 If thou hadst drunk to him, ’t had been a kindness
 Becoming well thy face. What canst thou say
 When noble Pericles shall demand his child?
DIONYZA 
 That she is dead. Nurses are not the Fates.
15 To foster is not ever to preserve.
 She died at night; I’ll say so. Who can cross it
 Unless you play the impious innocent
 And, for an honest attribute, cry out
 “She died by foul play!”

137
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 4. SC. 3

CLEON 20 O, go to. Well, well,
 Of all the faults beneath the heavens, the gods
 Do like this worst.
DIONYZA  Be one of those that thinks
 The petty wrens of Tarsus will fly hence
25 And open this to Pericles. I do shame
 To think of what a noble strain you are,
 And of how coward a spirit.
CLEON  To such proceeding
 Whoever but his approbation added,
30 Though not his prime consent, he did not flow
 From honorable courses.
DIONYZA  Be it so, then.
 Yet none does know but you how she came dead,
 Nor none can know, Leonine being gone.
35 She did distain my child and stood between
 Her and her fortunes. None would look on her,
 But cast their gazes on Marina’s face,
 Whilst ours was blurted at and held a malkin
 Not worth the time of day. It pierced me through,
40 And though you call my course unnatural,
 You not your child well loving, yet I find
 It greets me as an enterprise of kindness
 Performed to your sole daughter.
CLEON  Heavens forgive it.
DIONYZA 45And as for Pericles,
 What should he say? We wept after her hearse,
 And yet we mourn. Her monument is
 Almost finished, and her epitaphs
 In glitt’ring golden characters express
50 A general praise to her, and care in us
 At whose expense ’tis done.
CLEON  Thou art like the Harpy,
 Which, to betray, dost with thine angel’s face
 Seize with thine eagle’s talons.

139
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 4. SC. 4

DIONYZA 
55 You’re like one that superstitiously
 Do swear to the gods that winter kills the flies.
 But yet I know you’ll do as I advise.
They exit.