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@Read Book Ø Pericles, Prince of Tyre (2012 Academic Edn. / Interactive TOC / Incl. Study Guide) ¸ Academic eBook Edition with Interactive Table of Contents Incl Characters of the Play, A Summary of the Play, Act I, Act II, Act III, Act IV, Act V,Famous Shakespeare Quotes a Shakespeare A Z Word Dictionary Pericles achieves a sense of scene hopping adventure unequaled in Shakespeare s repertoire, and as a perhaps inevitable corollary, it is also the play that most strains credulity, The Winter s Tale notwithstanding The dei ex machina arrive in the form of dream instructions, magical healings, and a pirate kidnapping And yet, like Pericles with his Neptune defying navigations, we can weather the plot What is less easy to settle into is the variation in writing quality While Shakespeare probabl Pericles achieves a sense of scene hopping adventure unequaled in Shakespeare s repertoire, and as a perhaps inevitable corollary, it is also the play that most strains credulity, The Winter s Tale notwithstanding The dei ex machina arrive in the form of dream instructions, magical healings, and a pirate kidnapping And yet, like Pericles with his Neptune defying navigations, we can weather the plot What is less easy to settle into is the variation in writing quality While Shakespeare probably outlined the entire play, it seems as if one George Wilkins a lowlife hack, possibly a Shakespearean hanger on a whoremonger in the unminceable words of Harold Bloom wrote out the first two acts, which may explain the adventuresome shallowness that begins the story In spite of Wilkins supposed qualities, I find the beginning not so off putting, and even Bloom concedes that these two acts are quite playable , coming off much better in performance than on the page.Although the writing inconsistency is undeniable, it feelsacute within the Shakespeare material than between that of Wilkins and the Bard After writing some of the most internally active and personality driven characters of all time Hamlet, Iago, Rosalind, et al , Shakespeare somewhat bizarrely chooses to leave the major players in Pericles as impenetrable blanks, knowable only by their type For our title character, that means being courageous, honorable, and in all things mannishly commendable, only just human and unfortunate enough to earn our sympathy For Marina, it is the same story except with a certain feminine ideal, which first and foremost includes intact virginity, the quality that ultimately leads us into contact with the only palpably human elements in the play the employees of the Mitylene whorehouse Given the plot heavy adventure through the first three acts, it is easy to avoid recognizing the main characters lack of depth once we meet Boult, Pandar, and the Bawd, however, the discrepancy between characterizations is too great to ignore These three strive in vain to rid Marina of her maidenhead and enrich themselves in the process well beyond what they have achieved lately in the market Bawd We were never so much out of creatures We have butpoor three, and they can do nothan they cando and they with continual action are even as good as rotten.Pandar Therefore let s have fresh ones, whate er we pay forthem If there be not a conscience to be used inevery trade, we shall never prosper.Bawd Thou sayest true tis not our bringing up of poorbastards, as, I think, I have brought up some eleven Boult Ay, to eleven and brought them down again Butshall I search the market Bawd What else, man The stuff we have, a strong windwill blow it to pieces, they are so pitifully sodden.Pandar Thou sayest true they re too unwholesome, o conscience The poor Transylvanian is dead, thatlay with the little baggage.Boult Ay, she quickly pooped him she made him roast meatfor worms But I ll go search the market.Exit.Their scheming seems at first horrible, particularly given Marina s youth, innocence, and recent near death experience But once we learn that she has the upper hand and can thwart their every attempt at selling her, even converting her clients to chivalry in the process, we realize the joke is on us as well as her pimps unlike in Measure for Measure, we may sit back and enjoy these well written scenes, safe in the knowledge that designed depravity cannot win the day Perhaps Shakespeare was too bored by the traditional story to put in the difficult human infusing effort for the leads, or maybe he just loved composing these common, comically tawdry characters above all others see also Falstaff of the Henry IV plays and the seedy Viennese personalities of Measure for Measure In any case, Act IV through the reunion scene of Act V is high grade Shakespeare interposed in a middling affair In mulling over the reunion scene, it seems difficult at first to justify such a positive response to melodrama And yet Shakespearean language can transform what ought to be overripe, rotting sentimentalism into something truly poignant As in the finale of The Winter s Tale, Pericles reunion with his daughter Marina achieves that Bard specific alchemy of aesthetic brilliance combined with human ardor and wonderment, leaving me well beyond any critical detachment Pericles realization is slow when at the penultimate moment of belief in the presence of his living daughter he cries out to his loyal friend O Helicanus strike me, honour d sir Give me a gash, put me to present pain Lest this great sea of joys rushing upon meO erbear the shores of my mortality,And drown me with their sweetness it is evidence of the Bard s preternatural abilities that I want to rush in and present him, Pericles, that flattest of Shakespearean leads, with the final confirmation that yes his daughter lives and stands before him The first half maybe three fifths of Pericles contains the worst writing found in any Shakespeare play Fortunately for Shakespeare s reputation, he didn t write it some hack probably the ephemeral George Wilkins is responsible instead Much of the verse of the first three acts is difficult, but not in the way late Shakespeare is often difficult an extraordinary concentration and richness of language , but because it is poorly constructed or reported and makes little or no sense, parti The first half maybe three fifths of Pericles contains the worst writing found in any Shakespeare play Fortunately for Shakespeare s reputation, he didn t write it some hack probably the ephemeral George Wilkins is responsible instead Much of the verse of the first three acts is difficult, but not in the way late Shakespeare is often difficult an extraordinary concentration and richness of language , but because it is poorly constructed or reported and makes little or no sense, particularly when it is straining after a rhyme Add to these shoddy verses an episodic plot barely held together by the wearying doggerel monologues by the poet Gower even worse than the poetry of the real Gower, which takes some doing , and you are confronted with an extremely boring and occasionally infuriating play And thenShakespeare takes over, somewhere slightly before the brothel scene I think, and he produces some passages of great charm, including two scenes of restoration and reconciliation that can stand with their counterparts in the tragi comedies which is high praise indeed Any fan of The Winter s Tale, Cymbeline and The Tempest will greatly enjoy these scenes But as far as I m concerned, it wouldn t hurt you to skip the rest
To sing a song that old was sung,From ashes ancient Gower is come,Assuming man s infirmitiesTo glad your ear and please your eyes.By any measure available here on goodreads, this is one on Will s worst plays In terms of the average rating from my friends 3.0 it s only beaten on the downside by the 2.75 of Cymbeline Probably has something to do with the fact that it isn t one of Will s plays Wasn t included in the First Folio of 1623 even though it had been printed during his life with hi To sing a song that old was sung,From ashes ancient Gower is come,Assuming man s infirmitiesTo glad your ear and please your eyes.By any measure available here on goodreads, this is one on Will s worst plays In terms of the average rating from my friends 3.0 it s only beaten on the downside by the 2.75 of Cymbeline Probably has something to do with the fact that it isn t one of Will s plays Wasn t included in the First Folio of 1623 even though it had been printed during his life with his name on it then was included with six others in the third Folio 1664 Of those seven, Pericles is the only one to survive in my edition of his works the other six have been tossed away.BUT it s known that he had no hand in writing most of the play Nothing of the first two acts, then some of what follows In particular, it s known that he wrote the two brothel scenes in Act IV IV.ii and IV.vi Of course my Shakespeare is over sixty years old In that time it s certain that the vast bulk of Shakespeare research and scholarship has been concerned with nothing but trying to establish exactly which words of this play were written by Will One current theory is that Shakespeare is responsible for only the indefinite articles in the play The rather shocking evidence for this claim is a scrap of paper unearthed a few years ago, which seems to be in Shakespeare s handwriting, reading, I.ii A a an a Compare this toSCENE II Tyre A room in the palace Enter PERICLES PER To LORDS without Let none disturb us Why should this change of thoughts,The sad companion, dull eyed melancholy,Be my so used a guest as not an hour then, 37 lines later, the next indefinite article appears but a spark So apparently, Shakespeare had supplied a complete list of the indefinite articles, and the order in which they were to be used in the play Something of the reverse of the great Italian Renaissance painters who would leave minor parts of paintings for underlings to do Here the master did the small work Which Pericles Some readers may know of the great Athenian orator and statesman who went by this name Not the guy This play is based on a Roman tale from the fifth or sixth century about a different Pericles, this one a prince of Tyre.As you can see, not so impressive a specimen Anyway, the Roman piece was retold in English by a cat named Gower, a contemporary of Chaucer, back around 1400 It s an exceedingly long, complicated tale, taking place in several different locales Antioch, Tyre, Tarsus, Pentapolis, Ephesus, Mytilene, plus scenes onthan one ship The Elizabethan production won a Tony award for set design view spoiler One of the fascinating discoveries of recent scholarship is that these Mediterranean locations listed in the third Folio were not the locations used in the Elizabethan production Instead, these locations were all cities in Florida with of course the most exciting scenes of the play including the brothel scenes taking place not in Mytilene but in Miami hide spoiler Turns out the story as told by Gower is nearly identical to that in the play we re talking about Obviously the copywrite had expired, or Will and his collaborators would have been sued.But it s interesting that in the play, perhaps through agreement with some of Gower s heirs, Mr Gower is given a part to play and it s an important part He comes on at the beginning of each act and at play s end to tell us the many many bits of this abstruse story which couldn t possibly be staged with the budget they had Gower is actually listed as CHORUS in the play, obviously as a tip of the hat to Sophocles and the other Greek dramatists though for what reason, the abundant Pericles scholarship has not yet unearthed.The Play as I read itWhen I had been randomly directed to read Pericles as the next stop on my travels through Shakespeare, view spoiler All is number I am bound by this philosophical tradition that runs from the ancient Greeks up through the contemporary philosopher Nate Silver hide spoiler I was flummoxed about whether I should even bother reading the play, given that it wasn t written by the Bard I first decided to read only the parts that the Master was responsible for It took me about twenty minutes to carefully go through the text searching for all the indefinite articles, and reading each one It was kind of boring, but gave me a definite feeling of accomplishment Thumbs up The exercise also left me empty emotionally, however Thumbs down.Next I determined that I would read at least the parts of the play specifically mentioned in the Intro These were I.iv, II.iv, II.v of which it was said puerile melodrama so badly written that they might almost be parodies view spoiler idea hide spoiler of Elizabethan drama at its worst plus the two brothel scenes Armed with this list I then proceeded drudge that I am to work through the whole thing again I read from the beginning, up through II.v then sort of skimmed to follow the story a bit Act III, started readingclosely at Act IV, and sort of got drawn in, so read the last two acts with attention and even some pleasure My judgement of the three puerile scenes I.iv, said to be puerile I can take a hint II.iv, sort of empty II.v, THIS WHOLE SCENE REALLY IS RIDICULOUS The brothel scenes These really were written to make one feel back in Shakespeare However, I must say that the first scene illustrated very well the disadvantage of reading, rather than seeing, a play I made a note, Maybe this is meant to be funny Not very funny to me After all, a scene in which a fourteen year old girl is sold by pirates to a brothel, where she is to become one of the workers, can only achieve a reaction of amusement when it is played for laughs, as it no doubt was This becameapparent near the end of the scene, and was very much so in the second brothel scene.The play is sometimes described as a tragicomedy, a type which became increasingly popular in early seventeenth century London, thanks to the plays of this type written by Beamont and Fletcher in their brief and popular run as collaborative writers.RatingWell Though I didn t read the whole play, I did read or read a good bit of it And don t forget, I read all the indefinite articles.The play was probably written in 1608 Shakespeare was 44 not too old, but in fact in the last decade of his life He wrote only fourplays after this one, the best from our point of view being The Tempest So I m willing to give him a break here Getting a commission to supply only the indefinite articles was, I think, a well deserved coup Whatever else he supplied of the latter part of the play seems quite well done Yeah, it has a bit of the feel of a high school play Compared to most of his plays it s pretty light, to say the most But I actually enjoyed the happy ending denouement The good guys and bad guys got sorted out and bestowed with their just deserts I suspect it might be a fun play to watch, with the right over the top production Then off to an after play debauch, or something of the sort.The rating I gave 4 is mainly to try to bring the average up a little not too hard to do when so few ratings have been given I d probably feelcomfortable with 3 or even 3 1 3 If you re a Shakespeare completist you probably don t need encouragement But if you do, you needn t shy away from this play, it s worth a look This was fucking bananas and by no means Shakespeare s most accomplished or most coherent work which would make sense, given that he only coauthored it and it felt like it was trying to be 12 different plays of 12 different genres crammed into one, but my god I enjoyed it SO MUCH I think this is how most people feel about Shakespeare s comedies which I can t warm up to it s unapologetically ridiculous but thrilling and full of heart Really pleasantly surprised by this.