Act 4, Scenes 1-2
Summary – Act Four Introduction, Scene One and Scene Two
Gower enters and he asks the audience to imagine Pericles has arrived at Tyre and has been welcomed. He also reminds us that his wife is in Ephesus.
Gower then asks that we ‘bend’ our minds to Marina at Tharsus. She has been trained by Cleon in ‘music’s letters’ and is ‘both the heart and place of general wonder’ but her life is threatened by envy. Cleon’s daughter is called Philoten and contends with ‘absolute’ Marina. Marina gets all the praises and Cleon’s wife with ‘envy rare’ prepares to murder her ‘so that her daughter / might stand peerless by this slaughter’. Lychorida is now dead and Gower finishes his speech with an introduction to Dionyza and Leonine the murderer.
Scene One is set in Tharsus near the seashore. Dionyza reminds Leonine of the oath and reminds him to ‘but be / a soldier to thy purpose’. He agrees to it, but says Marina is a ‘goodly creature’. Dionyza replies, ‘the fitter then the gods should have her’. She points out that she approaches now and is weeping for Lychorida’s death. She asks if he is ‘resolv’d’ and he agrees he is.
Marina enters with a basket of flowers and is saying she will carpet the grave with them. Dionyza tells her not to consume her blood with sorrowing and tells her to give her the flowers and walk with Leonine ‘on the sea-margent’. Marina demurs, but Dionyza insists and says they expect her father everyday and want him to see they have taken care of her. She asks her to go for a walk ‘and be cheerful once again’ and ‘reserve that excellent complexion’.
Marina agrees finally and Dionyza exits. Marina tells Leonine that when she was born the wind was north and ‘never was waves nor wind more violent’. He then tells her to say her prayers and she asks what he means by this. He tells her not to be tedious about it ‘for the gods are quick of ear and I am sworn / to do my work with haste.’ She asks ‘why will you kill me?’ and he answers, ‘to satisfy my lady’. Marina protests saying she never did her hurt or any other living creature and asks how she has offended her. Leonine tells her his commission is to do it and he does not have the reason. She asks him to save her, but he replies that he has sworn to do this. He seizes her and then three pirates enter. Leonine runs away and they take Marina as a ‘prize’. Leonine returns when they have left and says if they leave her after ravishing her he must slay her.
Scene Two is set in Mytilene, in front of a brothel, and Pandar, Bawd and Boult enter. Pandar tells Boult to search the market as they have lost too much money ‘by being too wenchless’. Bawd says, ‘but poor three’ and ‘with continual action are even as good as rotten’. Pandar adds to this and says, ‘therefore let us have fresh ones’.
Boult enters with the pirates and Marina and the first pirate says that she is a virgin. Pandar agrees to pay for her and tells his wife to take her in and instruct her in what she has to do, ‘that she may not be raw in entertainment’. Pandar and the pirates then exit.
Bawd tells Boult to take the marks of her (colour of her hair, complexion, height, age and warrant of her virginity) and cry ‘he that will give most shall have her first’. Boult says ‘performance shall follow’ and exits. Marina regrets Leonine being so slow and the pirates not being barbarous enough. Bawd tells her she will fare well ‘and taste gentlemen of all fashions’. She then asks why she stops her ears.
After further arguments, Boult enters again and tells Bawd he has ‘cried her through the market’ and he says how ‘they listen’d to me as they would have hearken’d to their father’s testament’. He goes on to say a Spaniard’s mouth watered and a French knight ‘swore he would see her tomorrow’. Bawd tells Marina she has fortunes coming upon her. Marina does not understand her and Boult says to take her home: ‘these blushes of hers must be quench’d with some present practice.’ He then hints that as he has ‘bargain’d for the joint’ and Bawd finishes his sentence and tells him ‘thou may’st cut a morsel off the spit’. Before the scene finishes, Marina vows to remain a virgin and asks Diana to aid her purpose; Bawd asks ‘what have we to do with Diana?’
Analysis – Act Four Introduction, Scene One and Scene Two
In these scenes, Dionyza’s betrayal of Pericles comes when she orders the murder of Marina. She is driven by envy of how her own daughter is overlooked because of Marina’s admirable qualities. This goodness remains evident after the kidnapping by pirates and the sale to the brothel.
As well as being a vehicle for highlighting Marina’s saintly nature, Act Four Scene Two is also useful for giving the audience a more earthy and scatological show than has previously been seen. Sexual references and innuendo abound in this section.