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Back in Tyre, Helicanus and Aeschines discuss how Antiochus and Antiochus's daughter were magically burnt to a crisp in a fire from heaven that punished them for their sins. Helicanus says that justice has been done. Several lords enter, saying that Pericles has been gone for so long they wonder if they have a real king. They want to crown Helicanus, but Helicanus resists, suggesting they wait twelve months before making any decisions about the ownership of the crown. The lords leave to seek out Pericles.
In the palace at Pentapolis, Pericles is lead to his lodging by a gentleman. Pericles asks for a musical instrument, which he plays while he sings to himself.
The next day, King Simonides tells his knights that his daughter has written him a letter saying that she intends not to marry. The knights decide to leave. Simonides, alone, reveals that Thaisa's letter says she wants to marry the stranger, Pericles. When Pericles enters, Simonides commends his singing the night before, and asks him what he thinks of Thaisa. Simonides shows him Thaisa's letter, and Pericles immediately thinks he has caused offense. Simonides plays along, calling him a traitor, and accuses him of having bewitched his child. Pericles is offended, saying he came to the court in search of honor, and intends to defend it with his sword.
Thaisa enters, and Pericles asks her to tell her father that he never said a word of love to her. Thaisa doesn't understand who would take offense at something she wants him to do. Simonides takes his daughter aside to ask if Pericles is the right man for her, since they don't know about his lineage. Thaisa responds that Pericles is virtuous even if he may be of base birth, and she says she is in love with him and won't be controlled. Simonides threatens to banish Pericles, but Thaisa defends him. Simonides says he will tame her, or he will punish her by making Thaisa and Pericles man and wife. He clasps their hands together; they kiss, and are married. Simonides is pleased that they are both happy with the match.
Helicanus proves himself to be a good right-hand-man to Pericles, by turning down the crown of Tyre when the lords offer it to him. However now it becomes important for Pericles to return to Tyre to claim the throne.
Antiochus and his daughter won't be a threat to Pericles anymore, having been killed by heaven for their sins. This, we are to understand, is the just reward for their sin. Pericles, on the other hand, is the paragon of virtue, yet he must submit to misfortune.
A fun play, hopeful message, and the last Shakespeare comedy/romance on my way to reading all of Shakespeare by his 450th birthday.
In case you're interested, here's my blog on Pericles:
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This is the Bard's truest fairy tale. Long-lost daughters, wicked step parents, spouses reunited, and even fire from heaven. If it weren't for the incest and brothels - Disney would have a field day with this story. An even better fairy tale than "The Tempest," or "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and most likely a precursor to "The Winters' Tale."
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I saw Pericles at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2005 with a multi-national cast that included several young woman who had survived the 2004 tsunami which had caused them to go mute; only by being part of the production did they start speaking again. It was done in the Botanical Gardens and when someone said "There's the castle" they pointed to the Edinburgh Castle lit up at night. One of the most magical evenings of theater I've ever experienced. After that I decided to review it for
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Take a Study Break!