is a wry echo of Antiochus' hypocritical "Yet hope, succeeding from so fair a tree / As your fair self, doth tune us otherwise" (1.1. 115-6). The strange, shabby figure of Pericles reminds Simonedes that "Opinion's but a fool, that makes us scan / The outward habit by the inward man" (55-6), and the sentiment is so clichéd, and the outcome of the tournament so predictable, that one might not notice that the motto is garbled; it is the inward man that opinion has us judge by the outward habit. Because of the rhyme, editors cannot simply rearrange the sentence, and the use of a couplet at the expense of sense is evidence that this part of the text was recorded from memory.

Act 2.3

The tournament ends with a great banquet. Thaisa crowns the victor Pericles with a wreath. He is a picture of modesty, attributing his triumph to fortune and hesitating to take his place by the king, protesting, "Some other is more fit" (23). He so impresses Simonedes and Thaisa that they neglect their food, but does not notice their wonder, prompted by his situation to reflect of the past glory of his father's court, compared to whom he feels "like a glow-worm in the night / The which hath fire in darkness, none in light" (43-4), another rhyming garble: he feels like a glow-worm in the light. Simonedes, like Pericles' father, is truly regal, and his hospitality stands in direct contrast to Antiochus' grim welcome. Perhaps his hearty "double entrendres" denote a more healthy attitude to sex as well. The difference is clear: here the knights dance harmoniously, there "Hell only danceth at so harsh a chime" (1.1.86). The juxtaposition is reinforced in performance by doubling the two pairs of characters.

Pericles' silent reverie is misinterpreted by Simonedes who suspects him of being proud when in fact he feels inadequate. Disapproving of such churlishness, he drinks a toast to Pericles to bring him back into the party and orders Thaisa to strike up conversation, overcoming her modest reluctance much to her secret delight.

Act 2.4

Meanwhile in Tyre, Helicanus tells Escanes of what happened to Antiochus, struck down with his daughter by fire from heaven as they sat in their priceless chariot, their shrivelled bodies stinking so badly that no one would bury them. The moral is clear enough. In Pericles' absence the peers of the realm have become impatient. Now that the threat from Antioch is eliminated they want Pericles back, if he is alive. They suspect he is dead, however, and offer to make Helicanus their sovereign. He asks them to grant an extra year in which to look for Pericles, and reunites them in a common adventure, finding Pericles - "When peers thus knit, a kingdom ever stands" (58).

Act 2.5

Simonides enters reading a letter from his daughter, who has vowed herself to a year of chastity in service of Diana. Much dismayed by this news, the lords of the court retire. Alone, Simonedes reveals that the letter says more: Thaisa is determined to marry Pericles. He is piqued that his daughter has decided for herself, and although he approves of the match pretends not to, accusing Pericles of bewitchment and treason and declaring he will subdue his daughter's will. It all ends happily, however, with Simonedes more convinced than ever of Pericles' worth, sending them off first to be wed, and then to bed.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.