One of Shakespeare's most confounding plays. Co-written with George Wilkins, its tragic story is lightened by a dynamic cast of characters and their risqué dialogue.
Virtue and vice, truth and falsehood, chaos and harmony: all are presented in absolute terms in Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Jointly written with George Wilkins, this is one of Shakespeare’s most unusual plays. When Pericles discovers a dangerous secret at the court of Antiochus, he must flee for his life. Shipwrecked at Pentapolis, he is rescued and weds the Princess Thaisa. When told that his wife has died in childbirth, Pericles gives the infant Marina away, but his despair is compounded when he discovers that she too has apparently died – a grief that renders him speechless.
An intriguing tragicomedy, Pericles shares much with other late Shakespearean plays such as The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale: vengeance of the gods, familial love, and the miraculous power of redemption. What sets it apart is the play’s dynamic and ribald narrative that made it one of the most popular plays in the canon in Shakespeare’s lifetime.
Published by Oxford University Press and bound in hardback buckram by The Folio Society, The Oxford Shakespeare series offers authoritative editions of Shakespeare’s plays. The early printings have been scrupulously re-examined and interpreted by eminent scholars, who also provide introductory essays covering all relevant background information, together with an appraisal of critical views and of the plays in performance. The exhaustive commentaries pay particular attention to language and staging. Reprints of sources, music for songs, genealogical tables and maps are included where necessary; many of the volumes are illustrated, and all contain an index.
Roger Warren is the editor of the Oxford Shakespeare editions of Cymbeline, Pericles, Henry VI, Part 2 and (with Stanley Wells) Twelfth Night in Oxford World's Classics. He works extensively in the professional theatre, often in collaboration with Peter Hall.
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