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MonkeyNotes-Pericles, Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare
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Act IV, Scene 4

Summary

Gower is at Marina's "tomb" at Tarsus. He tells the audience that Pericles has sailed from Tyre, along with Helicanus and some nobles, to see his beloved daughter. This time the "bounteous winds" have not opposed him.

Gower's narration is interrupted by a third dumb show. Pericles with his followers, Cleon and Dionyza with theirs, enter before the "tomb." Pericles breaks down when he sees it, and dons sackcloth in mourning. Regretting that genuine feeling can he fooled by foul deceit, Gower resumes his story. He says that Pericles leaves Tarsus immediately, swearing never to wash his face nor cut his hair. The storm he faces now is in his mind:

"...He hears A tempest, which his mortal vessel tears, And yet he rides it out."

Gower then focuses on the epitaph composed by Dionyza for Marina. She calls her the child of the Goddess Thetis, and describes her as "The fairest, sweetest and best...who wither'd in her spring of year." With comments on how villainy wears the mask of "tender flattery" Gower leads the audience back to Mytelene.


Notes

Gower has been given a scene instead of his usual choral prologue. This may have been a means to avoid dramatizing the incident when Pericles hears of Marina's "death." Since the audience already knows she is alive there would be little point is lengthening this episode of grief.

At the same time, the dumb show or mime depicts the poignant moment of Pericles' grief without dragging it out. Gower's commentary also underlines the hypocrisy of the villainous Dionyza and her accomplice Cleon, who repay Pericles' kindness with treachery.

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