Pericles, Prince of Tyre Theme Analysis

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Theme Analysis

Envy
Dionyza’s envy of Marina leads her to plan her murder and Antiochus’s desire to keep his daughter for himself has led to the murder of many. Both Dionyza and Antiochus are the overt villains as they are seen to be led by these negative qualities that allow selfishness and envy decide their actions. By contrast, Pericles is depicted as a modest and somewhat melancholic figure. He lives a moral life despite the numerous setbacks, and for this he is rewarded with being reunited with his wife and daughter.
Revenge
The revenge of the gods is a theme that runs through this play as it is emphasised intermittently that those who sin will be punished for their actions. This is primarily evident in the reported deaths of Antiochus and his daughter in the main body of the play, but is firmly driven home in Gower’s Epilogue. Here, Gower is used to reiterate how the sinful ones such as Antioch, his daughter, Cleon and his family are punished by death. Despite the obstacles Pericles, Thaisa and Marina have had to overcome, they are seen to preserve their goodness. It is as though their suffering, and remaining dignity, is rewarded with the reunification of the family in the final act. Because of this contrast in fates for those deemed good and evil, the moral tone of the play is made starkly evident.
Virtue
It is mainly through the depiction of Marina that virtue is held up as morally desirable. She embodies the characteristics of the virtuous woman who will not be swayed by those around her such as Boult, Bawd and Pandar. She is also the mouthpiece for extolling the benefits of virtue and this is highlighted when the gentlemen and Lysimachus leave the brothel as altered men. The tone of the play depends on this somewhat simplistic view of morality and Marina’s influence on these men is not influenced by realistic conventions.

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