Prince of Tyre Pericles: by Shakespeare - Summary

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      Prince of Tyre Pericles is a play William Shakespeare wrote a substantial proportion, it was published in Quarto in 1609 but not I included in the First Folio of 1623. It is based on a story in Gower’s Confessio Amantis and Gowerhimself appears as Chorus. While in Antioch, Pericles guesses that King Antiochus has an incestuous love for his daughter, for whose hand Pericles is a suitor. Afraid of Antiochus, Pericles leaves Tyre and is ship-wrecked in Pentapolis. There he wins the hand of the king’s daughter, Thaisa, in a tournament. They are married and set sail for Tyre, where the king and his daughter have died, leaving Pericles as rightful heir to the throne. But the sea intervenes again. Thaisa gives birth to a daughter, is herself believed dead and her body placed in a chest and put to sea. Pericles entrusts his aptly named infant daughter Marina to the care of Cleon, governor of Tarsus, and returns to Tyre.

      The Chorus now explains how 16 years have passed, with Pericles in Tyre and Marina in Tarsus, where her grace and beauty arouse the jealousy of Cleon’s wife Dionyza. A plan to kill Marina is foiled when she is kidnapped by pirates and sold to a brothel in Mytilene. Cleon and Dionyza publish it abroad that Marina is dead. Protected from contamination by her purity, Marina attracts the love of Lysimachus, governor of Mytilene. When the despairing Pericles arrives there, it is Lysimachus who accidentally brings about the reunion of father and daughter. Impelled by a dream, Pericles sets sail for Ephesus and is there united with his long-lost wife, who has become a priestess of Diana. Pericles decides that Lysimachus and Marina shall rule in Tyre and he and Thaisa in Pentapolis.

      Pericles followed the contemporary fashion for extravagant adventure and pictorial staging, but the untidy plotting that accompanies these effects has been a leading cause of its comparative unpopularity. It has often been grouped with Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest and, whatever its defects, its mixture of romance, tragedy and comedy has much in common with these remarkably experimental late plays.

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