Pericles

by: William Shakespeare

Act V, Scene ii

We are left with a sense that the ordeals of Pericles all had a divine plan--that he was in some way being tested in order to prove that he would not curse the gods or turn to evil deeds, even when faced with the harshest sufferings. Instead he accepted things as fate, and tried to go on, in stark contrast to those who in the face of envy (in Tarsus) or lust (in Antioch) fell into corrupt actions and doomed themselves.

Pericles and his family and the other good people in this play are rewarded at the end for holding up against all odds, without a single good sign, and no indication that they operated under any divine plan. Job, at least, knew he was being tested, but Pericles seems not to have had such knowledge. He just kept on, resigned to the power of fate, and he lucked out in the end.

However this kind of punishment or reward for virtue seems to only touch the upper classes. What about, for example, the brothel keepers? Somehow because they are not royalty, their corruption is allowed to continue, whereas in the nobles it must be punished.


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