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MonkeyNotes-Pericles, Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare
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The role of a king:

This theme is important but not dealt with at length. Pericles is depicted more in his private aspect as lover, husband, and father. However, the general character of a man, which can be viewed by an examination of his private life, will reveal a lot about his fitness to rule. Two examples of leadership, one negative, the other positive, are placed before Pericles at the start of his quest. He is able to escape successfully from the power of the negative model, Antiochus, who misuses his authority as king (and as father, incidentally). In contrast, Simonides is praised by his subjects. He is a loving father, and shows a benevolent kindness to all his guests at the tournament. He refuses to take Pericles at face value, and he voices many opinions on kingship, which the playwright obviously agrees with. Simonides tells his daughter that "princes are a model which heaven makes like to itself." and that they lose their honor if not respected. He believes that princes "should live like gods above who freely give to everyone that comes to honor them." He reminds Pericles of his own father whom he had obviously loved.


The play briefly shows Pericles' own activity as a ruling prince. He is worried about the safety of his people who might be invaded by Antiochus. He has a strong sense of his duty as their ruler, and prefers to wander in exile, to risking the conquest of his land. He is also shown having a close and affectionate bond with his followers. He values Helicanus for his frankness and lack of flattery.

Thus, Shakespeare's ideal king is obviously not just a good ruler and a brave fighter, but also a good person in his private life. He is able to put aside the meaner emotions like revenge (as Pericles does with Cleon), and he is always aware of his own mortality:

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