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Act II, Scene 4
Back in Pericles' country, Tyre, Helicanus is telling another nobleman that "a fire from heaven" has struck Antiochus and his daughter. Both agree that sin has been rightly punished.
Meanwhile, a group of lords enters. They forcefully plead with Helicanus to become the official sovereign of Tyre. They fear that Pericles is dead and declare that the country cannot remain without a ruler. Helicanus persuades them to wait another year before declaring Pericles dead. He decides to launch a hunt for Pericles. If the search proves fruitless, he agrees to take over the rule.
This scene at once removes the obstacle for Pericles' return, and reinforces an earlier stated belief in fate. Antiochus and his daughter receive their just reward for their sins when lightning apparently strikes them dead. In Shakespeare's time, it was essential that dramatized characters received their just rewards, rather than be immoral and sinful and continue always to prosper. Pericles no longer has a reason to stay away from home, so this fact, coupled with recent romantic developments in Pentapolis, establishes a mood of peace and happiness.
Another important revelation in this scene is Helicanus' loyalty and virtue. He has the opportunity to take over the kingdom of Tyre. In fact, the people urge him to do so. A lesser man might be tempted by the appeal and the power afforded by such an offer, but Helicanus remains faithful to his friend Pericles. So far, the audience has seen characters that exemplify either clear virtue or unquestionable vice, all in differing positions of power. Antiochus, the wicked tyrant, pays the price for sin. Simonides, Pericles, and Helicanus are good leaders who have earned respect and loyalty. All are secure in their positions.