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Act III, Scene 1
Pericles, on the ship's deck, begs the gods to tame the stormy ocean. He calls upon Lucina, divine patroness of women and childbirth, to protect his queen and aid her delivery. Just then Lychorida enters, holding an infant. She announces that his newborn daughter is all that is left of his dear queen. Pericles holds the baby, welcoming her poignantly:
"Now, mild may be thy life! For a more blustrous birth had never babe: Quiet and gentle thy conditions! for Thou art the rudeliest welcome to this world That ever was prince's child. Happy what follows!"
Two sailors disturb his grief with an appeal for Thaisa's body to be cast overboard. Their superstitions indicate that the storm will not subside till the ship is cleared of the dead. Pericles is obliged to abide by their belief. He sends her to her watery grave in a satin shroud, along with bags of spices and jewels enclosed in her sealed casket. He orders the crew to proceed towards Tarsus. Given the dangers of the voyage to Tyre, he decides to leave the baby in the care of Cleon and Dionyza at Tarsus.
The contentment at the end Act II gives way to a drastic change in Pericles' fortunes. Once again, a storm at sea disrupts his life and acts as a recurring symbol in the plot. The earlier storm deprives Pericles of his ship and wealth. This one destroys his newfound happiness with his wife. It is a highly charged and dramatic moment when Pericles is given a child but deprived of his wife. The intense emotions and grand events are common in romantic dramas because of their intensity and their capacity for marvelous and joyful reunions and resolutions.
The great haste with which Thaisa is thrown overboard is important in the play. Later, she is found to be alive. Had she been given a ceremonial funeral, this would not have been possible. The plot therefore is a mixture of incredible events and authorial attempts to make them credible.
Many scholars question the authorship of the play, particularly because of the differences between the first two acts and the last three. Some feel that Shakespeare took over from Act III onwards, and a collaborator wrote the earlier acts. The primary reason for this belief is a general opinion that there is greater imaginative unity in the last three acts, as well as a better quality of verse.