William Shakespeare
(reviser? collaborator?)
[George Wilkins rejected]

[Shakespeare Apocrypha]



a synoptic, alphabetical character list


King of Antioch. Antiochus has an incestuous relationship with his daughter. To keep his crime secret, and to keep his daughter away from potential husbands, he devises a riddle for suitors; Antiochus supposes none will be able to solve it, and those that fail are put to death. When Pericles solves the riddle and learns Antioch's secret, the king plots to have Pericles murdered. Later, Antiochus and his daughter are struck down by divine fire.


A bawd. Along with Boult and Pander, Bawd purchases Marina from pirates with the intent of forcing her to become a whore.


A bawd. Along with Bawd and Pander, Boult purchases Marina from pirates with the intent of forcing her to become a whore. Ultimately Boult, like many of the brothel's customers, is won over by Marina and helps her become a teacher in an honest house.


A Lord of Ephesus, famous for his skill in medicine. When his servants find the coffin of Thaisa on the shore, he opens it, finds Thaisa and revives her. He then helps establish her as a nun in Diana's temple in Ephesus. Later, he is present for the reunion of Thaisa with Pericles and Marina.


Governor of Tharsus. He is lamenting the famished and ruined state of his land when Pericles arrives bringing corn to feed the people. Later, when Pericles stops at Tharsus during his voyage home, Cleon and Dionyza take Pericles' daughter Marina into their care. Believing Dionyza's attempt to have Marina killed was successful, Cleon is outraged. Nevertheless, he conceals his wife's actions. When word of their crimes spreads, the citizens of Tharsus burn the palace with Cleon and Dionyza inside.


Daughter of the King of Antioch. She has an incestuous relationship with her father who attempts to prevent suitors such as Pericles from marrying her. A suitor must solve a riddle before he can marry the girl. The answer to the riddle, however, reveals the incest, and forces Pericles to flee for his life. Along with her father, she is struck down by fire from heaven.


A goddess. She appears to Pericles in a dream, telling him to come to her temple in Ephesus. Once there, Pericles discovers that Thaisa has become a vestal to Diana, and husband and wife are reunited.


Wife of Cleon. Seeing that her own daughter Philoten suffers by comparison with the admirable Marina, Dionyza plans Marina's murder, sending Leonine to commit the crime. Thinking that murder done, she poisons Leonine and convinces her husband to remain silent. When the word of their crime spreads, the citizens of Tharsus burn the palace with Cleon and Dionyza inside.


A lord of Tyre and counselor to Helicanus. Helicanus tells him that the king of Antioch and his daughter have been killed by divine lightning.


There are three fishermen in Pentapolis.
  • The First Fisherman is master of two others.
  • The Second Fisherman is called Pilch.
  • The Third Fisherman is called Patch–breech.
They find Pericles when he is washed ashore on Pentapolis after the shipwreck. They tell him of the tournament to be held for Thaisa and provide him with a suit of armor that they have fortuitously pulled up with their fishing nets.


A gentleman who greets Lysimachus onboard Pericles' ship.


Friends to Cerimon.


Two customers in the brothel who are persuaded to give up whoring by Marina.


A chorus. The English poet Gower (presumably John Gower, who lived circa1325–1408) periodically appears throughout to narrate events and comment on the action. John Gower's Confessio Amantis provided the source for much of Pericles, and his speeches in the play are written in the same meter as was his poetry.


An honest counselor to Pericles. Understanding the possible threat from Antiochus, Helicanus advises Pericles to leave Tyre until it is safe to return. During Pericles' absence, Helicanus rules in his stead. After some time, Helicanus is urged to take Pericles' place permanently, but he resists, calling for twelve months' delay during which time Pericles might return or be found. Helicanus remains a loyal friend and advisor to Pericles after his return to Tyre.


Three knights in Simonides' tournament who come as suitors to Thaisa have speaking parts. The play also calls for additional knights in Simonides' tournament.


A murderer sent by Dionyza to kill Marina. He is prevented by pirates who abduct Marina, but Leonine tells Dionyza that Marina is dead. He is subsequently poisoned by Dionyza to ensure his silence.


A lord attending Lysimachus. The Lord suggests that Marina might be able to improve the state of the melancholic Pericles.


A lord who brings news of Pericles' arrival in Tharsus.


Three Lords appear in Tyre as part of Pericles's court.
  • The First Lord flatters Pericles. Later, he, along with other Lords, challenges the rule of the absent Prince and urges Helicanus to become ruler of Tyre.
  • The Second Lord also flatters Pericles. Later he supports a plan to find the absent Pericles or, if he cannot be found, to replace Pericles with Helicanus.
  • The Third Lord supports the rule of Helicanus.


Three Lords appear attending Simonides.


A nurse who serves Thaisa and attends the infant Marina. In the storm at sea, she brings the newborn Marina to Pericles and informs him, mistakenly, that Thaisa is dead. Lychorida remains with Marina in Tarsus, and dies–perhaps killed by Dionyza–shortly before an attempt is made on Marina's life.


Governor of Mytilene and a patron of the brothel. Like other potential customers, he is overwhelmed by Marina's virtue and refuses to force her into sex. Later, learning of Pericles' deep melancholy, he agrees that Marina might be able to cure Pericles' profound grief. Following Pericles' reunion with his daughter, Marina is promised to Lysimachus in marriage.


The daughter of Pericles and Thaisa. She is born on board a ship during a violent storm–a birth that supposedly kills her mother. She lives in the care of Cleon and the Dionyza until, just as she is about to be murdered, she is abducted by pirates. The pirates sell her to bawds who intend to make her a fresh whore in their disease-ridden brothel. Marina's virtue, however, is so great that would-be customers are inspired to reform and renounce the brothel altogether. She becomes a teacher and, because of her reputation as an inspiring soul, is called upon to ease the melancholy of a visiting monarch. That king, unbeknownst to her, is her own father, Pericles. Father and daughter are happily reunited, and Pericles promises Marina's hand in marriage to the reformed Lysimachus. Following Pericles' vision of Diana and consequent journey to Ephesus, Marina is also reunited with her mother.


An officer of Simonides.


A messenger who informs Antiochus that Pericles has fled Antioch.


A bawd. Along with Bawd and Boult, Pander buys Marina from the pirates with the intent of forcing her to become a whore.


The third fisherman in Pentapolis is called Patch–breech. It could likely be no more than a nickname used in jest.


The second fisherman in Pentapolis is called Pilch. A Pilch is a course leather or skin coat. It could likely be no more than a nickname used in jest.


The Prince of Tyre. Courting the daughter of the king Antiochus, Pericles discovers the king's crime of incest. Fearing retribution against himself and his country, Pericles flees Tyre, leaving the government in the hands of the loyal Helicanus. He journeys to Tharsus and aids that kingdom by bringing much-needed supplies of food. When he learns that Thaliard, an agent of Antiochus, has come to Tyre looking for him, he continues his travels but is shipwrecked at Pentapolis. With the help of fishermen he meets on shore, he recovers his armor and resolves to enter a tournament. He wins the tournament and subsequently the love of Thaisa–to whom he is presently married. Hearing the news that Antiochus is dead, he sets sail for Tyre with the now-pregnant Thaisa. During the voyage, Thaisa gives birth to a daughter, Marina, but seems to die in childbirth. Pericles is forced to throw the body of Thaisa overboard in a box, and he chooses to leave Marina in the care of Cleon and Dionyza of Tharsus. He returns to Tyre and becomes King. When he returns for Marina many years later, Pericles is told she is dead and, believing this lie, is overwhelmed with grief. Years later, when his ship stops at Mytilene, he is unexpectedly reunited with his daughter. Soon after, in a dream, Diana appears to him and instructs him to travel to her temple in Ephesus. There, Pericles and Marina are reunited with Thaisa, who has become a vestal of Diana there.


A servant to Cerimon.


A "ghost character." The daughter of Cleon and Dionyza. It is for her sake that Dionyza attempts to kill Marina.


Three pirates abduct Marina.


During the storm, two sailors appear.
  • The First Sailor insists the body of Thaisa be thrown overboard.
  • The Second Sailor assists in preparations for the burial of Thaisa at sea.
Their preparations of the body inadvertently assure her survival.


A sailor who serves Helicanus onboard Pericles' ship.


A servant to Cerimon who helps recover Thaisa from the sea.


King of Pentapolis and father to Thaisa. He sets a tournament for the hand of his daughter and is pleased when Pericles wins. He insults Pericles, calling him a traitor, in order to test his love for Thaisa. Simonides dies shortly before the reunion of Pericles with Thaisa.


Daughter of Simonides, wife of Pericles, and mother of Marina. Thaisa is thought to be dead and hurled overboard during a terrible storm at sea. She is recovered by Cerimon who revives her. Thaisa, assuming Pericles is dead, becomes a nun in the service of the goddess Diana. Later, after Diana comes to Pericles in a vision, she is happily reunited with her husband and daughter.


A servant to Antiochus. He is sent to poison Pericles. By the time he arrives in Tyre, however, the Prince has fled.


A "ghost character." A great pirate to whom the pirates who abduct Marina are in service.


A "ghost character." A French syphilitic who longs for Marina while she is in the hands of the bawds.