Pericles has sworn not to cut his hair or wash his face and has put himself at the sea's mercy, he reads Marina's epitaph, leaving Pericles to his grief, and us in Mytilene. Gower's technique of presenting the events on the stage is now sophisticated and self-aware:"Thus time we waste and long leagues make short;
Sail seas in cockles, have and wish but for't;
Making, to take our imagination,
From bourn to bourn, region to region." (1-4)
The experience of the play is likened to imagination's travelling across a sea in a puny vessel, as is Pericles. Gower has already made the comparison at the beginning of Act 3."By you being pardon'd we commit no crime
To use one language in each several clime
Where our scene seems to live" (5-6)
The apology is not so much for using English where Greek should be spoken, but for breaking the unities, rules that the neo-classicists claimed to have found in Aristotle's Poetics that stipulated that the action of a play cover only one day (the unity of time) and happen in one place (the unity of place). The unities never became quite the issue that they were in France where Racine and Corneille used them to conduct a war of prefaces, each accusing the other of transgressing theatrical form whilst pre-empting criticisms of their own creations. Nevertheless, Shakespeare's romances, especially Pericles, are too prodigal of time and space not to have been criticised, and it is sometimes thought that The Tempest's preservation of the unities was a riposte to critics such as Jonson. This "mouldy old tale," however, has little dramatic unity, so it is apt that its hero should also be coming apart at the seams: "He bears / A tempest, which his mortal vessel tears, / And yet he rides it out" (29-31).
Being at sea is also bearing, giving birth (see commentary to 2.1 above): Gower's presentation of the play suggests it might also being a metaphor for the performance of a play, giving birth to imagination. Marina's epitaph attributes what is called her "foul death... slaughter" (so close to the truth) to the earth's reaction to the sea's swelling pride at Marina's birth, sending her to heaven. The sea in return "makes raging battery upon shores of flint" for the loss of her "birth-child" (34-43).Act 4.5
Two gentlemen leave a brothel in Mytilene, having visited Marina, who has deflected their lust onto more godly (and comically improbable) objects: "No, no, Come, I am for no more bawdy houses. Shall'st go and hear the vestals sing?" - "I'll do anything now that is virtuous; but I am out of the road of rutting for ever" (5-8). Marina has changed them with her discourse: "But to have divinity preach'd there! Did you ever dream of such a thing?"Act 4.6
The Bawd, Pandar and Boult are dismayed that Marina is "able to freeze the god Priapus" (3). Boult has decided to take her in hand when the governor of Mytilene, Lysimachus, enters. Boult presents Marina to his customer, who (somewhat prophetically) greets his pitch with the sardonic "Faith, she would serve after a long voyage at sea" (42). Boult takes Marina aside tells her who Lysimachus is - an honourable man and the governor - hoping that this will impress her enough to drop her "virginal fencing" and "use him kindly" (56). After warning Lysimachus that he might have to take some pains with Marina, he leaves them alone. Marina does not let Lysimachus' rather desultorily attempts at conversations nor his euphemisms pass, asking what a man like him is doing in a place like that. Misunderstanding, he reassures her that his authority will look kindly on her, and tries to move things along. When Marina appeals to his honour - "If you were born to honour, show it now" (96) - everything changes: "I did not think / Thou couldst have spoke so well; ne'er dreamt thou couldst. / Had I brought hither a corrupted mind / Thy speech had alter'd it" (101-3). The conditional "had" implies its negative, that he had not come to the brothel with a "corrupted mind", which he goes on to assert: "For me, be you thoughten / I came with no ill intent; For me / The very doors and windows savour viley" (108-110) and reward her with gold. Everything up to this point, however, suggests that he was a recognised and regular patron of the brothel. The point is important given that he is Marina's future husband, in a play where chastity is so important and Diana, the goddess of chastity herself, intervenes.
On his way out Lysimachus berates Boult with "Your house, / But for this virgin that doth prop it, / Would sink and overwhelm you" (119-20). The result is uproar: Boult is furious and determined to lose no more time or customers but "crack the glass of her virginity" (142), Pandar and the Bawd, hearing that "she
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