Gower: Chorus or narrator for the play, Gower is also the name of a fourteenth-century English poet whose story of Apollonius of Tyre was a significant source for this play.
Antiochus: The king of Antioch, Antiochus is having an incestuous relationship with his daughter. As suitors come seeking her hand in marriage, he requires them to answer a riddle correctly or lose their life. The answer to the riddle reveals the illicit relationship. At the beginning of the play, Pericles arrives in Antioch to undertake this test.
The Daughter of Antiochus: Unknown to most that she is in an incestuous relationship with her father, the Daughter of Antiochus is sought after by many suitors, including Pericles.
Pericles: The prince of Tyre, Pericles begins the play in Antioch where he seeks to marry the Daughter of Antiochus, but must flee to Tyre when he discovers the king’s sordid secret. Throughout the play, he has more adventures and endures shipwrecks, great misfortune, and deep grief. He marries Thaisa and has a daughter, Marina, who becomes a central character to the play.
Thaliard: A lord of Antioch, Thaliard is hired by King Antiochus to follow and kill Pericles after he discovers the answer to his riddle.
Helicanus: A lord of Tyre and advisor to Pericles, Helicanus is loyal to his friend and refuses the crown when Pericles fails to return to Tyre, believing that Pericles is the only true ruler of Tyre.
Escanes: Another advisor to Pericles, Escanes has a lesser role in the kingdom.
Cleon: The governor of Tharsus, Cleon and his wife, Dionyza, welcome Pericles on his arrival from Tyre when they learn he has food supplies to alleviate their city’s famine. Later, he pledges he will take care of Pericles’s infant daughter, Marina. However, as the child grows, Dionyza becomes jealous of her beauty and plots to kill her.
Dionyza: The wife of Cleon, Dionyza pledges with her husband, Cleon, to protect and care for Pericles’s daughter, Marina. But as Marina matures and is more praised than her own daughter, Dionyza plots to have Marina killed. She and Cleon are later punished by the gods.
Simonides: The king of Pentapolis, Simonides holds a jousting tournament for the hand of his daughter, Thaisa. Pericles is washed ashore on Pentapolis after leaving Tharsus, falls in love with Thaisa, and wins the tournament and Thaisa as his wife.
Thaisa: The daughter of Simonides and wife of Pericles, Thaisa appears to die onboard a ship during Marina’s birth. She is buried at sea in a wooden chest, but is later discovered and miraculously revived by Cerimon in Ephesus. Thinking her husband and child are lost at sea she enters goddess Diana’s convent.
Marina: The daughter of Pericles and Thaisa, Marina was born at sea and raised in Tharsus by Cleon and Dionyza, after her mother supposedly died. Raised as royalty, she fears for her life when faced with a murderer hired by Dionyza to kill her. She is kidnapped by pirates before she can be killed and is then sold into prostitution in Mytilene. Her virtue prevails and she convinces her would-be customers, including the governor of Mytilene, Lysimachas, to respect her honor. She sets up a school for young ladies and becomes a teacher.
Leonine: A servant of Dionyza, Leonine is hired by Dionyza to kill Marina.
Lychorida: Nurse to Thaisa and Marina, Lychorida tells Pericles that Thaisa has died during childbirth. Later ,as Marina’s nurse, she lives with her in Tarsus but dies shortly before the murderous plot by Dionyza.
Cerimon: A kindly man and a physician in Epheus, Cerimon miraculously heals Thaisa after she is buried at sea and comes ashore on Ephesus.
Philemon: A servant to Cerimon
Lysimachas: The govenor of Mytilene, Lysimachas comes in disguise to the brothel where Marina works but is convinced to leave her alone. When Pericles arrives in Mytilene, grief-stricken, Lysimachas greets him and takes him to the virtuous Marina to be healed. Later, he and Marina become engaged to be married.
Pander: The proprietor of a brothel, Pander buys Marina from the pirates who kidnapped her from Tarsus.
Bawd: The wife of Pander, she tries to convince Marina to give up her virtue in the name of business.
Boult: A servant of Pander and Bawd, Boult falls under the virtuous spell of Marina and offers to help her find a more honorable place to work.
Diana: The goddess of chastity, Diana appears to Pericles in a vision once he discovers Marina is still alive and urges him to go to the Temple of Diana in Ephesus where Thaisa lives. She is responsible for setting up the eventual reunion of Pericles’s family.