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The Love Theme
Although romantic love is essential to Shakespeare comedies and romances, it is a minor theme in this play. The false attraction to Antiochus' daughter is contrasted with the true love of Thaisa and Pericles. Thaisa is not put off by his poor, shabby appearance and still loves him. The other reference to true love is Pericles remaining a "widower" for fourteen years with no desire to remarry. Marina too has a love relationship at the end, but her feelings on the subject are never clearly brought out. She is only shown acting as Lysimachus' conscience, although he apparently loves her.
Shakespeare's comedies generally end in marriage, symbolizing harmony. Hence in this play too, love is depicted, though briefly. It is mainly touched upon in the case of Pericles' attractions. While the former attraction towards Antiochus' daughter is superficial, his fascination of Thaisa turns into the substantial bond of marriage. In the latter half of the play, Lysimachus' love for Marina is briefly dealt with.
Like any good epic adventure, Pericles encompasses many moods and atmospheres. In the beginning, there is danger and intrigue, as he guesses the meaning of Antiochus' riddle. Then there is adventure and suspense as he flees for his life. There are moments of compassion, romance, danger, tragedy, and comedy. There is also triumphant joy when Pericles rediscovers his wife and daughter. All in all, the play succeeds in tapping into every major emotion, as well as a few minor ones, and delivering a highly entertaining adventure epic.