Characters in the 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.