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MonkeyNotes-Pericles, Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare
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Act IV, Scene 3

Summary

Dionyza tells her husband Cleon what she has done. Horrified, Cleon is full of shame, but too weak to punish his wife for the heinous act she calls "an enterprise of kindness" toward her own daughter. In order to deceive Pericles, a grand monument is built in Marina's honor, with her epitaph written in golden letters. Cleon hopes this will distract Pericles from actually suspecting him and his wife.


Notes

The audience is aware that Marina is alive, while the villains are not. This adds irony to their attempts to deceive but does not reduce their guilt. Though Cleon is not actually guilty of committing the crime, by his inaction he becomes an accomplice to it. After this, he is always spoken of as a murderer.

This scene, along with the preceding one, builds up a background of weak and evil characters. The purpose of such comparisons is to provide a foil to Pericles, Thaisa, and their daughter Marina-- examples of heroic idealism.

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