This Is Some Changeling: The Seacoast of Bohemia Revisited
Acting out his dream vision at Diana's altar, Pericles gives his fortunes "repetition to the life." Ritually reenacted, past sorrows now issue in a joyful consummation. Yet there is no repose in this magic. Those reunited embrace only to vanish offstage as the motion of life resumes. Gower returns with an epilogue reminiscent of the vicious conventionality of the opening scenes. He reports a world as susceptible to unreasoning brutality as to magical revelation. Hence the poignancy of Pericles' wish that his ecstasy release him from the play:
You [gods] shall do well
That on touching of [ Thaisa's] lips I may
Melt and no more be seen.
As in Cleopatra's cry at Antony's death, "O, see, my women, the crown o' th' earth doth melt" (4.15.62), Pericles' "melt" predicates not annihilation, but a metamorphosis that would dissolve all conflict. So Hamlet wishes to "melt" and be "resolved" into a dew (1.2.129). For him "not to be" is to sleep, "perchance to dream" (3.1.65).
These examples envision death as a trancelike suspension of consciousness. Rejoining Desdemona after a storm at sea, Othello yearns to stop time, to preserve his "absolute" joy:
If it were now to die,
'Twere now to be most happy; for I fear
My soul hath her content so absolute
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.