"If you want to know what are the events which cast their shadow over the hell of time of King Lear, Othello, Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida, look to see when and how the shadow lifts": Stephen argues that the experiences responsible for the bitterness and anger in Shakespeare's great tragedies reveal themselves in the late romances which the playwright produced in his "closing period" from roughly 1608 to 1611. In his view, the powerfully moving stories of fathers and daughters in those plays––Pericles and Marina in Pericles, Leontes and Perdita in The Winter's Tale, Prospero and Miranda in The Tempest––show the author coming to peace with his wife's unfaithfulness.

John Hunt 2023

Thomas Stothard's 1825 oil on canvas painting of Marina singing before Pericles, held in the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Illustration of Pericles recognizing Marina in the Clarke edition of The Plays of William Shakespeare (ca. 1860s), drawing by H. M. Paget and engraving by E. Bure. Source:

Roman bust of Odysseus/Ulysses in a pileus, from the early 1st century AD. Source: