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Pericles, Prince of Tyre

de William Shakespeare, George Wilkins (Autor)

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'Pericles' was one of the most popular plays in the Jacobean theatre, and it has regained much of that popularity in the modern theatre. In a wide-ranging introduction, Roger Warren draws on his experience of the play in rehearsal and performance to explore the reasons for this enduring popularity.
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Pericles is a patchwork play that never quite irons itself out. It bolts together a strange incest story in Act One to a following tragedy of Pericles losing his wife and daughter before being reunited with them – a typically Shakespearean scenario that, in this iteration, is strangely unsounded in its depths. There are a few decent moments, such as when Pericles finally reunites with his daughter and then his wife ("O, come, be buried a second time within these arms" (pg. 85)), but the play as a whole is laden with peculiarities and contrivances. The incest couple of Act One are killed off by a heaven-sent meteor (which, in true "Poochie returned to his home planet" style, is related to us second-hand by another character), at one point some pirates just appear, and even the final Acts, which are otherwise markedly improved, throw Pericles' daughter into a brothel and find characters debating her rape and prostitution as she schemes, improbably, to retain her chastity. While there are one or two good beats, these sequential shambles are knitted together with what are called 'dumb shows', dialogue-free action scenes in which essential plot developments are hastily shown. These are, if you think about it, the antithesis of Shakespearean drama.

It is as though they had a half-decent idea and the right ingredients, but just could not get the bread to rise. I say 'they', for it is clear that the debate over whether Shakespeare was the sole author of Pericles is not a debate at all. He was not the sole author. The first Act in particular is clumsy beyond belief, and though Shakespeare has stumbled before, he has never been this. It is quite evidently not him, and the scholarship that Pericles was a collaboration is rather advanced. I usually see such discussions over disputed authorship in Shakespeare's plays as irrelevant (and, in the case of the Earl of Oxford, obnoxiously baseless), but it's staggeringly obvious in Pericles.

And, what's more, there's little else to discuss: the play is lacking in depth or coherence and what it does effectively has been done much better by Shakespeare elsewhere. The only interesting question Pericles really poses is why Shakespeare persevered with it. Whether a favour to a friend or peer, an example of the sunk cost fallacy, or an experiment that ended in an honest failure, the result is nevertheless the same: a failure. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Sep 3, 2023 |
I'm not sure what to think about this play. It had been listed as one of Shakespeare's comedies but it didn't strike me as humorous. In fact, despite the happy ending with Pericles and his family reunited, I found much of the subject matter upsetting.

The play starts with the young prince of Tyre, Pericles, searching for a bride. He visits a neighboring kingdom but unfortunately the beautiful daughter of the king is in an incestuous relationship with her father. Pericles flees upon discovering that secret but the king sends an assassin after him. After this disturbing opening, Pericles undergoes various adventures, mostly standard fare.

Later in the play is another worrisome section, when Marina (daughter of Pericles) is captured by pirates and sold into prostitution..

I guess it was considered a comedy because it didn't end with a bunch of dead bodies! ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 27, 2023 |
The amount of boat related incidents in this play borders on the farcical. ( )
  merlin1234 | Mar 13, 2023 |
Pericles, called Prince and King interchangeably, goes to win the hand of a princess and finds that the king is unwilling to let his daughter go because they are in an incestuous relationship. He plays a game with each courting prince, asking them a riddle that ends in the young man's death. Pericles catches on pretty quickly and escapes across the waters, but the king sends a man to follow and kill Pericles to keep him from exposing the king's secret.
Pericles goes on to survive shipwrecks and lost love. His daughter experiences kidnapping and slavery. Yet, because this has a happy ending, it may be included as a comedy.
Scholars generally agree that Shakespeare probably wrote exactly half of this play. ( )
  mstrust | Aug 3, 2022 |
Not one of Bill's best plays, and often dismissed as being largely by other people, nonetheless, the play is included in the canon. Pericles, noble and virtuous, discovers his king Antiochus has an incestuous relationship with his own daughter. The king being aware of this, Pericles must flee home to tyre. However, after outliving Antiochus Pericles desires to return to court, but his family is shattered by a shipwreck. Years later they are at last reunited. This play has no connection with Hellenistic history other than the names of some of the principals. the play is usually dated to 1606 or thereabouts. ( )
  DinadansFriend | May 20, 2022 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Shakespeare, Williamautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Wilkins, GeorgeAutorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Greg, W. W.Editorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Hoeniger, F.D.Editorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Rolfe, William JamesEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Sagarra, Josep M.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Warren, RogerEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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To sing a song that old was sung,
From ashes ancient Gower is come;
Assuming man's infirmities,
To glad your ear, and please your eyes.
It hath been sung at festivals,
On ember-eves and holy-ales;
And lords and ladies in their lives
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The purchase is to make men glorious;
Et bonum quo antiquius, eo melius.
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This work is for the complete Pericles, Prince of Tyre only. Do not combine this work with abridgements, adaptations or "simplifications" (such as "Shakespeare Made Easy"), Cliffs Notes or similar study guides, or anything else that does not contain the full text. Do not include any video recordings. Additionally, do not combine this with other plays.
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'Pericles' was one of the most popular plays in the Jacobean theatre, and it has regained much of that popularity in the modern theatre. In a wide-ranging introduction, Roger Warren draws on his experience of the play in rehearsal and performance to explore the reasons for this enduring popularity.

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