A brief comparison between the ends of Pericles and of The Pattern of Painful Adventures

I am going to discuss the ending of Shakespeare’s Pericles and Laurence Twine’s prose novella The Pattern of Painful Adventures. While both endings are essentially your generic happy ending, two major differences stand out for me. The obvious being Shakespeare’s omitting the son that Twine gives to Pericles.

Pericles breast in the British Museum

(For convenience sake I’m going to use the character names from Shakespeare in case anyone hasn’t read Twine)

The other difference I am going to discuss is the notion of reward and revenge that Twine uses at the end. Pericles is not happy to simply have his wife and daughter back, he must now reward those who helped them and seek revenge on those who didn’t.

Throughout both Shakespeare and Twine the character of Pericles suffers much loss, the loss of his wife Thaisa, and the loss of his daughter, Marina. These losses in Shakespeare appear directly linked to Pericles’ character as a man and a young hero, and he appears to diminish until finally he refuses to speak. “It is in vain, he will not speak to you” He simply accepts these situations. While the decline in character is not so obvious in Twine’s version, he too accepts his fate without much hindrance.     

“But as there was never yet any thing certaine or permanent in this mortall life, but alwaies we be requited with sowre sauce to our sweete meate, and when wee thinke ourselves surest in the top of joy, then tilt wee downe soonest into the bottome of sorrow” (Chapter 22, Twine, The Pattern of Painful Adventures)

This quote from Twine echoes the notion of Lady Fortune and her spinning wheel that we have seen throughout  many texts that we have done in this class, possibly this is why Shakespeare’s version of Pericles diminishes so, because he knows he has no hope against a power such as Lady Fortune.

When Shakespeare’s Pericles is reunited with his wife and daughter, Shakespeare wraps the play up with a happy and simple ending. Pericles is content to simply have them returned to him safely. We see by his grief throughout the play that he never thought this possible. This however, is not sufficient for Twine’s protagonist who feels he must return to where certain events occurred and either reward those involved in helping him, such as the fisherman, or seek revenge on those who didn’t, such as Cleon and Dionyza. “The revenge pleased Apollonius well.” (Chapter 21, Twine, The Pattern of Painful Adventures) (Appollonius being Twine’s Pericles) This could be viewed as Pericles taking matters into his own hands for the first time in either piece. Throughout the play we see evil being punished, such as the intestual King and his daughter and we see good being rewarded. Throughout the play, Pericles, Thaisa and Marina all remained just and virtuous and so they were rewarded by being united.

The Son that Pericles has in Twine’s The Pattern of Painful Adventures appears to lose both his parents quiet young, which may be echoing Pericles’ story as he enters the play quiet young and there is never mention of his parents. He is referred to as the “lusty yoong Altistrates” (Chapter 23, Twine, The Pattern of Painful Adventures) suggesting he may have his father’s characteristics of jumping into battles for Princess’ and tendencies to wander which could be linked back to the notion of the never still wheel of fortune and the never ending cycle of life.

Pericles – Apollonius

Thaisa – Lucina

Marina – Tharisa

Lysimachus –  Athanagoras

Stranguilio  Cleon

Dionisiades – Dionyza


Works cited:

Shakespeare, William. Pericles. Ed. Suzanne Gossett. London: Arden Shakespeare, 2004. Print.

Twine, Laurence. The Pattern of Painful Adventures. Ed. Tom Bishop, Andrew Forsberg. London: Internet Shakespeare, 2011. Web.

 Images Cited:

British Museum,  Idealised bust of Pericles. Photograph. 2007. Wikimedia Commons. Web. 13 Dec 2013



The Principles of Communication…. The Principles of Behaviour.

Language is an inescapable part of life. The majority of us use it as our primary source of communication. So, it would make sense that the “rules” surrounding both language and life are synonymous. The only difference being, one can achieve perfection, although rarely, through one medium, but not the other.

Surely in the world of the English language where certain ornamental words flow so seductively off the tongue and intelligence is judged by how many syllables your word contains, it is hard to imagine that trimming all that down to the fundamentals may actually, occasionally, better your writing. Sadly, flamboyant language never came naturally to me and knowing my love affair with thesaurus was going to have to expire someday, hearing the words “simplicity is always your friend” was a rather extraordinary notion.

As a matter of fact, many of the principles of writing may apply to real life. You must be clear, concise and presentable, occasionally humorous, occasionally academic and always at precisely the correct moment. ‘Use more sophisticated conjunctions but don’t overuse semicolons, it looks ostentatious’ translates to ‘act seasoned and professional but not pompous’. There is a fine line that we constantly flirt with, between unusable and arrogance, known as perfection. The principals of both writing and life appear to be the same and the advice for either appears entirely interchangeable. For example, “be your own best editor”. This advice equally applies to life. Knowing your weaknesses and flaws is your greatest strength.

We study English literature through a restricted framework and as in life, one is expected to bend to the social and accepted norms and while individuality is technically accepted and encouraged, it appears that ideally one should never stray too far from the beaten track.

Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing” – Robert Benchley


Sitting in the shadows of week one it is safe to say that the world of academia that I knew in my undergraduate has truly evolved. It has passed through the tunnel of adolescence and emerged a mature, thoughtful and reflective being. It no longer ignores recommended reading or jests at active participation. In actuality, it is beginning to enjoy both.

It is so easy to become lost in the academic world. On the one hand, we are fortunate enough that we have an immense array of options when it comes to pursuing an academic course. While on the other hand, frequently as adolescents we are not guided correctly with regard to this path. In this financial climate there is too often the notion of studying something that will guarantee you a job rather than something that will enrich your mind and benefit you as a person.

While reading Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde this week I began to wonder about the adversity poets, authors or philosophers may have faced in that era, or even the adversity their characters may have faced. I find it difficult to imagine that someone would tell Chaucer that he was foolish to write, that he should go and get a “proper” job. The Arts were given a certain precedence and reverence and those who studied them were considered very fortunate. Chaucer, Dante and Spenser are all men who helped create and shape the English language as we know it, what would the English language be today had they chosen to become lawyers or doctors?

Through the vast time and space between now and then our thought processes regarding the Arts are dramatically different. A career as a poet is considered conventionally as impractical and foolish. Scholars are considered pompous and arrogant and young children who prefer reading books instead of sitting in front of a technicolor box are ridiculed by their peers.

The study of the English language, particularly historical stories, poets and figures such as those mentioned above is as important as studying the historical facts of the environment they lived in. It teaches us about their interests, beliefs and emotions. As I sit here, typing these words into my laptop I often envisage that time; someone soaking vellum in lime in order to prepare it for manuscript, or a monk spending endless hours creating the beautiful pieces of art that we are fortunate enough to have remnants of today. It is impossible to move forward in life without acknowledging the past. Every symbol and syllable we utilize is a result of centuries of evolution and growth. We only exist as we are, as a direct result of what has gone before us.

I leave you with the pertinent words of Marcus Garvey, renowned Jamaican political leader, entrepreneur, publisher and journalist.

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” 

Tree Roots in France


Images Cited

Yale University Art Gallery. Saint-Cloud. Photography. 1924. Eugene Atget. Wikimedia Commons. Web. 29 Sept. 2013