The Pericles play is set in the ancient world, in Antioch (Syria at the time but Southern Turkey today); Tyre in southern Lebanon; Tarsus, Southern Turkey; Pentapolis, a group of five cities in North Africa; Ephasis in Western Turkey and Myteline on the Greek island of Lesbos. Two of the scenes take place on a ship at sea. See a map of Pericles settings

Date written: 1606 – 1608

Genre classificationPericles is generally regarded as a Comedy, or a tragicomedy.

Main characters in Pericles: There is a host of minor characters but the drama centres on the three main protagonists, Pericles, the Prince of Tyre. He is separated from his wife, Thais, who is lost during a storm at sea and given up for death. While at sea, her daughter, Marina, is born. She survives and is restored to her father. At the end of the play the three are reunited. See a full list of characters in Pericles.

Pericles themes: This play deals with the unpredictable and dangerous journey through life. Appearance versus reality is a major theme of this play. Shakespeare begins to explore it right in the beginning when the beautiful and virtuous-seeming princess of Antioch is revealed as an evil young woman. Virtue versus vice pervades the play. Chaos and order are contrasted throughout. The role of kings is examined with the contrast between Antiochus and Pericles.

Pericles portrait, in orange toga

A portrait of Shakespeare’s Pericles

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