Pericles Characters

Gower is the English poet John Gower, whose work Confessio Amantis provided part of the plot of the play. 

 
 

Antiochus is the King of Antioch. He is an evil man who sleeps with his daughter and wants to keep her all to himself. 

 
 

Pericles is the Prince and King of Tyre. A passive man who mostly reacts to events rather than causing them, he leads a rather doom-laden life, each blow leading him a little lower until he sinks into catatonic depression. 

 
 

Helicanus is a counselor of Pericles’s, one who refuses to flatter him even when he is in a dangerous mood. 

 
 

Escanes is a lord of Tyre, whom Helicanus trusts a great deal. When both Pericles and Helicanus are absent from Tyre, he governs the state in their place.

 
 

King Simonides of Pentapolis is a monarch with a taste for show and practical jokes. 

 
 

Cleon is the Governor of Tarsus. A weak and passive man who tends to let things happen, and is under his wife Dionyza’s thumb.

 
 

Lysimachus is the Governor of Mytilene, and not unknown to the brothels, though he is cautious and insists that the prostitutes he takes are disease-free. 

 
 

Cerimon is a physician of Ephesus. He is a kind, generous, and charitable old man, known throughout the town for his goodness and his skill. 

 
 

Thaliard is a lord of Antioch who is ordered by Antiochus to poison Pericles, on pain of his own execution. 

 
 

Philemon is one of Cerimon’s servants. 

 
 

Leonine is a servant of Dionyza’s. He is a loyal and obedient man, willing to kill Marina in spite of his own inclination when ordered to. 

 
 

A Marshal is in charge of seating the various participants of the tournament at the feast based on their performances.

 
 

Pander is a pimp running a brothel in Mytilene. He sends Boult to buy new women at the market, as those he already has are all rotted with venereal diseases. 

 
 

Boult is the doorkeeper at the brothel, and the third-in-command. 

 
 

Antiochus’s daughter is a beautiful girl, who has an incestuous relationship with her father. Whether she enjoys it or not is unknown. She is killed by a bolt of lightning.

 
 

Dionyza is Cleon’s wife. Though she swears to Pericles to bring up Marina with as much care as her own daughter Philoten, she soon grows envious of Marina for being just a bit better at everything than Philoten. 

 
 

Thaisa is Simonides’s daughter. A beautiful girl, she is courted by princes from all over the world, but falls completely in love with the seemingly humble knight Pericles, who wins her birthday tournament. 

 
 

Marina is Pericles and Thaisa’s daughter, born at sea in the middle of a storm. 

 
 

Lychorida is Thaisa’s old nurse, and appointed to take care of her child once it is born. 

 
 

Bawd is the Pander’s wife. She is in charge of the occupants of the brothel and has no patience for virginal modesty. 

 
 

Diana is the goddess of chastity. 

 
 

First Lord of Tyre is glad to see Pericles return from Antioch, or at least says that he is. 

 
 

Second Lord of Tyre is glad to see Pericles return from Antioch, or at least says that he is. 

 
 

The Third Lord of Tyre joins the other two in their conspiracy to have Pericles replaced by Helicanus, and follows them on their successful endeavor to find Pericles and warn him that he had best return home.

 
 

First Lord of Pentapolis announces to Simonides that the knights are ready for the tournament. He does not think much of Pericles, given his rusty armor. 

 
 

Second Lord of Pentapolis considers Pericles to be some sort of barbarian, given how he dresses for the tournament.

 
 

Third Lord of Pentapolis thinks that Pericles may be a poseur who specifically let his armor grow rusty just to impress people.

 
 

The First Knight is from Sparta, and comes to Pentapolis to woo Thaisa. He is a gallant man.

 
 

The Second Knight is a prince of Macedon, who comes to Pentapolis to woo Thaisa. He is disappointed that he and his fellow knights are not allowed to speak with her once the tournament is over.

 
 

The Third Knight is from Antioch, and comes to Pentapolis more to win the tournament than in the hopes of winning Thaisa’s hand. 

 
 

The Fourth Knight is Athenian, and comes to Pentapolis to woo Thaisa. He is complimentary of her good looks.

 
 

The Fifth Knight is a Corinthian prince, proud of his trustworthiness.

 
 

Five Pages [mute roles] bear the insignia of the five knights to Simonides and Thaisa for them to identify and interpret.

 
 

The First Sailor informs Pericles that Thaisa’s body must be thrown overboard, as it is ill-luck to have a corpse on board a ship, especially during a storm. He pays no attention when told he is merely superstitious.

 
 

The Second Sailor finds a large chest to use as a coffin for Thaisa’s body before throwing it overboard.

 
 

The First Fisherman is the master of the fishing crew.

 
 

The Second Fisherman (Pilch) has little regard for the shipwrecked, especially those who appear to have no useful skills in life. 

 
 

The Third Fisherman (Patchbreech) has a small store of pity for the storm-wrecked, but he is more concerned with witty ranting about the rich, for whom he has a poor regard – particularly rich churchmen. 

 
 

Antiochan Messenger reports to Antiochus that Pericles has fled, leaving the king no choice but to send Thaliard after him.

 
 

An Ephesan Servant has come to Cerimon in hopes of help for his master, but learns that there is nothing to be done. 

 
 

The First Gentleman of Ephesus was so terrified by the storm that he left his house out of fear it would collapse on him. 

 
 

The Second Gentleman of Ephesus was so terrified by the storm that he left his house out of fear it would collapse on him. 

 
 

The First Pirate stops Leonine from killing Marina, and considers the man a villain for doing so. He guarantees Boult that she’s a virgin when selling her. 

 
 

The Second Pirate is delighted at having capture Marina, who he realizes will fetch an excellent price.

 
 

The Third Pirate is intent that all the pirates should have their share of Marina’s price.

 
 

Sailor of Mytilene brings Lysimachus to Pericles’s ship to find out whose it is. 

 
 

The First Gentleman of Tyre accompanies Pericles on his ship, and is called up by Helicanus to make sure there is a decent welcoming party for Lysimachus when the latter comes on board.

 
 

The First Gentleman of Mytilene came to the brothel intent on purchasing Marina’s virginity, and is completely converted to virtue by her arguments.

 
 

The Second Gentleman of Mytilene came to the brothel intent on purchasing Marina’s virginity, and is completely converted to virtue by her arguments, wanting nothing more now than to hear nuns singing holy hymns.

 
 

Sailor of Tyre speaks with the Sailor of Mytilene who asks him where his ship is from, and informs Helicanus of Lysimachus’s arrival.

 
 

Virgins [mute roles] are nuns of Diana attending on her altar with Thaisa.

 
 

A Man [mute role] comes to Cerimon for help after the storm, and is given a prescription.

 
 

First Tyrian Messenger [mute role] brings news to Pericles from Helicanus that Thaliard is after him. He is knighted by Pericles.

 
 

Second Tyrian Messenger [mute role] brings Pericles the news that Antiochus and his daughter are dead, struck by lightning, and that it is therefore now safe for Pericles to return to Tyre, which would be a good idea given that the Tyrian lords are on the verge of giving the crown to Helicanus. 

 
 

A Lord of Tarsus comes to tell Cleon of the approach of a friendly-seeming fleet. With all the other Tarsians, he swears to pray for Pericles when the latter announces that he has brought food to the city.