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Pericles

William Shakespeare

Contents

Act II, Scenes iv-v

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Act II, Scenes iv-v

Act II, Scenes iv-v

Act II, Scenes iv-v

Act II, Scenes iv-v

Summary

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.

Commentary

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.

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ACT II, SCENES IV-V QUICK QUIZ

How did Antiochus and his daughter die?
Political uprising
Fire from heaven
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