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MonkeyNotes-Pericles, Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare
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Act III, Scene 2

Summary

This scene takes place in Ephesus, the Greek city famous for its temple of Diana. A rich and generous nobleman, Lord Cerimon, is introduced. From his conversation with two shipwreck survivors, it is clear that he has studied medicine, and is known for his charity and ability to care for the sick.

Two servants carrying a sealed chest enter his house. They tell Cerimon the chest has been tossed ashore by the stormy sea. To their astonishment, the chest contains the body of Thaisa, along with bags of spices and jewels. A scroll signed by Pericles reveals her identity. It begs the finder to bury her properly and accept the valuables as payment. Almost immediately, Cerimon suspects she may be alive. With his healing arts, he is able to revive her.


Notes

This scene of Thaisa's revival draws out the theme of fickle fortune and the unexpected twists in a person's life. It also paves the way for a happy ending. The play belongs to the group of tragi- comedies of Shakespeare's last phase. In all of them, there are dramatic coincidences, which take the action close to tragedy but are then reversed. The death of Thaisa and her recovery is one such event.

The resurrection of Thaisa is incredible, and of course stretches the bonds of realism. However, in romances anything is possible. Pericles, being a dramatic romance, is perfectly entitled to the use of such fantastic occurrences.

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