Gower, the narrator, begins our story in the palace of King Antiochus who is meeting Pericles, Prince of Tyre, a suitor who comes to win his daughter’s hand in marriage. In order to have her, Pericles must solve a riddle, but if he cannot solve it, he will die. When Pericles guesses the answer, which reveals the incestuous relationship between King Antioch and his daughter, he must flee the kingdom before Antioch has him killed. Pursued by an assassin, Pericles takes a journey on the Mediterranean Sea, stopping in Tarsus, where he saves the people from famine, and ending on the shore of Pentapolis where he’s shipwrecked. There he meets King Simonides who is holding a tournament for his daughter Thaisa’s hand in marriage. Pericles wins the hand of Thaisa and the respect of her father, and they are married. She quickly becomes pregnant and Pericles decides to return to Tyre with his new family. Struck with more bad luck, a strong storm hits the ship the night that their daughter, Marina, is born, and Thaisa dies in childbirth. Pericles places her in a coffin, and throws her overboard to calm the storm, and the ships make their way to Tarsus, where they leave Marina with the governor and his wife, Cleon and Dionyza. Pericles returns to Tyre and rules once more. Although the story could end there, it can’t be a romance without a happy ending...will Thaisa be revived from the dead? Will Marina almost be murdered and then magically reunite with her father and her mother? Shakespeare finds a brilliant way to tie up the epic journey of Pericles, reuniting him with his family and bringing their hardships to an end.
Pericles, Prince of Tyre guide sections