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MonkeyNotes-Pericles, Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare
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Act II, Scene 5

Summary

The audience is taken back to Simonides' court in Pentapolis. Simonides tells the assembled knights that his daughter has made a vow before the goddess Diana not to marry for a year. The disappointed suitors take their leave. Simonides then reads a letter written to him by Thaisa. In it, she tells her father she will marry the knight of Tyre or no one. Secretly amused at her determination, Simonides plays a light-hearted trick. He charges Pericles with treachery for bewitching his daughter. Suspecting a trap, Pericles fiercely denies the charge. His host is impressed by his courage. The scene ends with Thaisa's confession of love to Pericles. He admits to her that the feelings are mutually shared. The indulgent father gives them his blessings happily.


Notes

This scene is full of dramatic announcements and accusations, but only for the sake of intrigue and suspense. Thaisa probably makes her announcement as a way of getting rid of unwanted suitors, rather than out of a true intention to remain celibate for a year. Once the suitors are gone, she is free to marry Pericles without the difficulty of turning down all the others. And Simonides approves of the match, which the audience knows. His accusation is simply for the purpose of forcing Pericles to reveal his true feelings. All in all, this is a triumphant scene wherein all the characters get what they want. This is not a "world well lost for love" as in Antony and Cleopatra. There the lovers defy an empire and betray their earlier loyalties for their love. In Pericles the lovers' bond is one of loyalty and duty, and is in harmony with their rank in society.

The act ends on a cheerful note, with the characters blissfully oblivious to the problems lying ahead. It acts as a sort of calm before the storm.

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