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Pericles
Act 4, scene 4

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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 4
Enter Gower.

GOWER 
 Thus time we waste, and long leagues make short,
 Sail seas in cockles, have and wish but for ’t,
 Making to take our imagination
 From bourn to bourn, region to region.
5 By you being pardoned, we commit no crime
 To use one language in each several clime
 Where our scenes seems to live. I do beseech you
 To learn of me, who stand in the gaps to teach you
 The stages of our story. Pericles
10 Is now again thwarting the wayward seas,
 Attended on by many a lord and knight,
 To see his daughter, all his life’s delight.
 Old Helicanus goes along. Behind
 Is left to govern it, you bear in mind,
15 Old Escanes, whom Helicanus late
 Advanced in time to great and high estate.
 Well-sailing ships and bounteous winds have brought
 This king to Tarsus—think his pilot thought;
 So with his steerage shall your thoughts go on
20 To fetch his daughter home, who first is gone.
 Like motes and shadows see them move awhile;
 Your ears unto your eyes I’ll reconcile.

Dumb Show.


Enter Pericles at one door, with all his train, Cleon and
Dionyza at the other. Cleon shows Pericles the tomb,

141
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
ACT 4. SC. 4

whereat Pericles makes lamentation, puts on sackcloth,
and in a mighty passion departs. Cleon and Dionyza exit.


 See how belief may suffer by foul show!
 This borrowed passion stands for true old woe.
25 And Pericles, in sorrow all devoured,
 With sighs shot through and biggest tears
 o’ershowered,
 Leaves Tarsus and again embarks. He swears
 Never to wash his face nor cut his hairs.
30 He puts on sackcloth, and to sea. He bears
 A tempest which his mortal vessel tears,
 And yet he rides it out. Now please you wit
 The epitaph is for Marina writ
 By wicked Dionyza:

35 The fairest, sweetest, and best lies here,
 Who withered in her spring of year.
 She was of Tyrus, the King’s daughter,
 On whom foul death hath made this slaughter.
 Marina was she called, and at her birth,
40 Thetis, being proud, swallowed some part o’ th’ earth.
 Therefore the Earth, fearing to be o’erflowed,
 Hath Thetis’ birth-child on the heavens bestowed.
 Wherefore she does—and swears she’ll never stint—
 Make raging battery upon shores of flint.


45 No visor does become black villainy
 So well as soft and tender flattery.
 Let Pericles believe his daughter’s dead,
 And bear his courses to be orderèd
 By Lady Fortune, while our scene must play
50 His daughter’s woe and heavy welladay
 In her unholy service. Patience, then,
 And think you now are all in Mytilene.He exits.