Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Pericles (PEHR-eh-kleez), the prince of Tyre. When King Antiochus gave him a riddle to solve, the intelligent young man learned too much about the evil king’s incestuous lust for his own daughter. Knowing that his life and his kingdom of Tyre are now in great danger, he flees to impoverished Tarsus, bearing shiploads of food for Cleon’s people. Shipwrecked in storm-driven seas, he is cast ashore in a land governed by good King Simonides, who gives the hapless prince an opportunity to enter the lists. Pericles wins the tournament and the heart of Thaisa, the king’s beautiful daughter. They marry, but he is soon separated from his bride. After many mishaps, he is reunited with his wife and child.
Thaisa (thay-IHS-uh), King Simonides’ lovely young daughter. Seeing Prince Pericles, she is smitten by his charms, even though he is dressed in rusty armor that he fished out of the sea after the shipwreck. When the valiant prince wins the tourney, she is determined to marry him. Shortly after the marriage, she bears him a daughter, apparently dies on board ship, and is put afloat in a tightly caulked casket, in which she drifts to shore and is revived by Cerimon, a lord of Ephesus, skilled in healing.
Marina (mah-REE-nuh), the attractive daughter of Pericles and Thaisa. Born on...
(The entire section is 665 words.)
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Pericles is the prince of Tyre. On occasion, he is referred to as the king of Tyre, the terms "prince" and "king" here being interchangeable. Hearing of the great beauty attributed to daughter of Antiochus, Pericles travels to Antioch with the intention of winning her for his wife after solving the riddle posed by her father. Pericles solves the riddle but is devastated to learn in its solution that Antiochus and his daughter are having an incestuous affair. Pericles flees Antioch, sure that Antiochus will kill him in order to protect his dark secret. Once home in Tyre, Pericles worries that Antiochus will pursue him there. He takes the advice of Helicanus and leaves Tyre to travel the world. His first stop is in Tharsus where he brings grain to alleviate the city's famine and incurs the gratitude of the populace and Cleon, the governor there. He remains in Tharsus until he receives a letter from Helicanus acquainting him with the fact that Thaliard, one in the service of Antiochus, has been in Tyre. Pericles sails from Tharsus and is caught in a storm that sinks his ships and drowns his followers. Pericles, himself, is washed onto the shores of Pentapolis where he meets three fishermen, who inform him of a knightly tournament to be held the next day at the palace of Simonides, the king of Pentapolis. At stake in the tournament is the hand of Thaisa, Simonides's daughter. Pericles wins the tournament and marries Thaisa. He remains in Pentapolis for a short time,...
(The entire section is 924 words.)
Antiochus is the king of Antioch. He is guilty of practicing incest with his daughter. To prevent his daughter from marrying anyone else, Antiochus presents all of her suitors with a riddle. If the suitors cannot answer that riddle, they are put to death. The practice is successful for Antiochus until Pericles arrives and figures the riddle out. To keep Pericles quiet, Antiochus publicly promises him another forty days to provide the answer, but secretly orders Thaliard to pursue and kill the prince of Tyre. While traveling in a chariot Antiochus and his daughter are burned to death by a bolt of fire from the avenging gods, their burnt bodies remaining unburied, being to disgusting to approach.
Bawd is the wife of Pander. She and her husband keep a brothel in the city of Mytilene, and they buy Marina from the pirates who have kidnapped her, because they need to replenish their stock of prostitutes. Marina is a virgin, and Bawd and her husband hope to profit considerably from her presence in their house of ill repute. Bawd instructs Marina, unsuccessfully, in the proper attitude a prostitute should have. When Marina begins to turn customers away from the house with her chaste behavior, Bawd is very upset with her. Eventually, she places Marina in a more reputable home and allows her to earn money through singing, dancing, and teaching, money that is paid to Bawd. Her name is synonymous with ''prostitute'' or ''madam...
(The entire section is 4368 words.)