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King Antiochus has issued a challenge to any suitor proposing marriage to his daughter: answer a seemingly-impossible riddle correctly, or die. Pericles, the Prince of Tyre, discovers the answer to the puzzle, but in doing so, he unearths the incestuous relationship between the king and his daughter. Pericles decides not to reveal the truth, and King Antiochus gives him forty days before his execution. When Antiochus hears that the prince has fled back to Tyre, he sends an assassin after him.
At the advice of his councilor, Helicanus, Pericles plans to travel until Antiochus no longer wants to kill him. On his journeys he encounters a brutal storm that leaves him shipwrecked in Pentapolis.
This play draws from many sources: Confessio Amantis by John Gower (who appears in the play as the chorus), The Odyssey, Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia, and Plutarch’s Lives. The themes of separated families and mistaken death refer back to Shakespeare’s earlier plays, like The Comedy of Errors.
This Standard Ebooks edition is based on William George Clark and William Aldis Wright’s 1887 Victoria edition, which is taken from the Globe edition.
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