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MonkeyNotes-Pericles, Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare
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Act IV, INTRODUCTION

Summary

Gower enters to acquaint the audience with Marina's progress over a period of fourteen years. She has been reared with Cleon's daughter, Philoten. Marina is said to be more talented and more beautiful than Philoten, which is a source of jealousy and concern to Dionyza. Unable to cope with her envy and resentment, Dionyza plots Marina's murder, going so far as to hire Leonine to kill the offending foster child. Gower's talk of the delightful Marina causes anticipation in the audience, who are ready at once to see the young child of Pericles now that she is grown.

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Act IV, Scene 1

Summary

Dionyza gives instructions to Leonine to murder Marina. Even while she orders him to be ruthless, Leonine seems to have second thoughts. Marina appears. The audience sees her for the first time since her infancy.

Young and beautiful, she appears with a basket of flowers that she wants to place on Lychorida's grave. She mourns the loss of her loving nurse and her own loneliness:

"This world to me is like a lasting storm, Whirring me from my friends."

Dionyza makes a pretense of consoling her. She clucks over the effect sorrow has had on Marina's beauty. Taking away the flowers, she insists that Marina walk by the sea with Leonine. Marina walks with Leonine, telling him about the loss of her parents and then her nurse. Leonine, tense over his unpleasant errand, orders her to pray, revealing that he has sworn to kill her for Dionyza. A stunned Marina wonders how she has offended Dionyza and what profit her death will yield. She responds to the danger not with tears, but bold persuasion. She appeals to Leonine's "gentle heart" and asks him to shield her from death. Leonine does not listen to her request and tries to kill her. The two struggle when suddenly a gang of pirates enters. They seize Marina and carry her off. Leonine is left behind. He recognizes them as belonging to the gang "of the great pirate, Valdes." He hopes they will kill Marina, but is ready to dispose of her if they do not.

Notes

This is the long awaited entry of the third important character, Marina. At the symbolic level of the play, she stands for youth, beauty, and moral purity. Her birth occurs at the moment of her mother's supposed death. This makes her a symbol of rebirth and renewal in the tempestuous world. Her entry, holding flowers as an offering, has close associations with Flora, goddess of spring. After the turbulence of Pericles' life, she brings in a breath of hope. However, the dramatic tension is built up over the plot to kill her. The emotional impact of the threat hanging over her is heightened by her sorrow over the loss of her loved ones. She is clearly an innocent victim in the cruel world to which she has been given.

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