Study Guide

Dionyza in Pericles, Prince of Tyre

By William Shakespeare

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So, Dionyza is pretty much the ultimate wicked mother figure from popular fairy tales. (We think she's a special blend of the evil queen from Snow White and Cinderella's wicked stepmother.) In the play, she hires a hit man to take out Marina because she doesn't like the fact that everyone in her city thinks Marina is prettier than her own kid. Yikes. This is after she promises to love Marina like her own daughter.

It's another way in which weird attitudes toward sex (Dionyza can't handle that someone else's daughter is getting more attention from men than her own) lead to violence in this play.

But don't worry, Shmoopers. Just like all the other bad parents in this play, Dionyza gets what's coming to her. The people of her kingdom rise up and kill her, along with her good-for-nothing husband. 

Dionyza in Pericles, Prince of Tyre Study Group

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