Study Guide

Pericles, Prince of Tyre Act 1, Scene 4

By William Shakespeare

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Act 1, Scene 4

Read the full text of Pericles Act 1 Scene 4 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • Cut to the city of Tharsus.
  • We meet the Governor (Cleon) and his wife (Dionyza). They're boohooing to each other about the years-long famine that's turned their once-thriving city into a bunch of ruins.
  • Hmm. Could this reference to a major food shortage be a shout-out to the Corn Riots of 1607, which went down in the English Midlands around the time Pericles was written?
  • Instead of trying to come up with a solution, Cleon and Dionyza decide to sit around and tell stories about how awful things are.
  • Things are so bad that the starving people of Tharsus have begun to eat their own family members. Seriously. These days, even mothers look at their babies like they're ready to cook them.
  • Then Pericles shows up with his ship stocked full of grain and is all, "Hey, guys. I'm not here to wage war on your vulnerable city. I heard your people are totally starving. So, how about I give you some food, and you let me hide out here for a while?"
  • Cleon and Dionyza throw themselves at his feet and promise to repay his kindness some day.
  • Get your highlighters out, because that's important.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre Act 1, Scene 4 Study Group

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