Act 4, Scenes 3-6
Summary – Act Four Scenes Three, Four, Five and Six
Scene Three is set in Tharsus and Cleon and Dionyza enter. Cleon despairs at the actions of his wife and asks what she will say to the noble Pericles when he demands his child. She replies that she will tell him she is dead and asks who can contradict this except him if he plays the ‘pious innocent’ and cries ‘she died by foul play’. He responds, ‘of all the faults beneath the heavens, the gods do like this worst’ and she retorts that she ‘do shame’ of his cowardliness.
Dionyza goes on to say that Marina stood between her daughter and her fortunes and this ‘pierc’d’ through her. Although Cleon calls this course ‘unnatural’, she argues it was ‘an enterprise of kindness’ for his only daughter. She says as for Pericles, ‘what should he say?’ She then refers to how they are building a monument to Marina and have epitaphs written on it in ‘glitt’ring golden characters’. Cleon compares her to a harpy and adds that she has an angel’s face with eagle’s talons. The scene ends with her saying that she knows he will still do as she advises.
Scene Four is set before the monument of Marina at Tharsus. Gower enters and explains Pericles is travelling by sea to see Marina and is with Helicanus. Escanes is left behind to govern Tyre.
A dumb show follows where Pericles enters at one door with his train and Cleon and Dionyza at another. Cleon shows Pericles the tomb and Pericles ‘makes lamentation, puts on sackcloth’ and departs in ‘a mighty passion’.
Gower continues with his narration and says Pericles leaves Tharsus and swears never to wash his face or cut his hair. He sets to sea and rides out a tempest. Gower then reads out the inscription on Marina’s monument (which refers to how she is the ‘fairest, sweetest and best’).
Scene Five returns to Mytilene and two gentlemen enter having left the brothel. One asks the other if he ever dreamed of divinity being preached in such a place. The other replies ‘no’, and adds that he is ‘for no more bawdy houses’. They leave to hear the vestals sing.
Scene Six is set in the brothel in Mytilene and Pandar, Bawd and Boult enter. Bawd says how they must either get Marina ravished or ‘be rid of her’. Lysimachus then enters and asks for ‘that a man may deal withal, and defy the surgeon?’ Bawd says they may have one, but ‘there never came her like in Mytilene’. Lysimachus asks that she be brought forward.
Boult enters with Marina and Bawd says how Lysimachus is an honorable man and is the Governor of this country – and is bound to him. Marina says she may be bound to him, but she (Marina) does not know how honorable he is. Bawd then asks her to ‘use him kindly’, as ‘he will line your apron with gold’.
Bawd, Pandar and Boult exit and Marina and Lysimachus talk. Marina tells him she knows of his position and when he asks her to ‘bring’ him to a private place she asks him to show his honor. She talks of wanting to be free form this ‘unhallow’d place’ by the gods and he praises the way she speaks. He gives her gold and tells her to persevere ‘in that clear way thou goest’. He then calls her ‘a piece of virtue’ and sees that she has had noble training and gives her more gold.
Boult enters and asks for a piece of gold and Lysimachus damns him and says without this virgin the house would sink. He then leaves. Bawd and Pandar enter and Boult informs them of how Marina has spoken holy words to the Lord Lysimachus. Bawd tells Boult to take her away and ‘crack the glass of her virginity, and make the rest malleable’.
Bawd and Pandar exit and Boult says he will take the jewel from her that she holds so dear. Marina criticizes him and the work he does and says he should do anything but this. She gives him gold and says she can sing, weave, sew and dance and is able to teach these things. She asks him to find her a place doing this amongst honest women. The scene and act ends with Boult saying he will do what he can for her, but needs the consent of his master and mistress.
Analysis – Act Four Scenes Four, Five and Six
Marina’s persuasive virtue is made apparent in Scenes Five and Six as she dissuades two gentlemen and then Lysimachus from visiting a brothel. Her goodness is made all the more evident as these men are seen to sway from their predilections to a more pious understanding of human relations. She is portrayed as a character with moral strength and this is emphasized when she also withstands the pressure from Boult, Bawd and Pandar to work as a prostitute even though they are depicted as intimidatory.