Fate has given Pericles, the young Prince of Tyre who wants to marry the daughter, the wisdom to instantly understand the answer to the King's riddle, and also the realization that he will die either way. If he answers correctly:- the King is having an incestuous relationship with his own daughter, he will be executed; if he answers incorrectly he will be executed according to the original rules of the riddle. This is one of the prime examples of an impossible situation set by Fate in which entrance into the agreement. As the Chorus puts it in the opening speech, "bad child; worse father" (I.1,27). The Chorus also suggests that it is heaven that has actually made the daughter so alluring:
Instantly understanding the answer to the riddle, Pericles pleads for more time and quickly exits the kingdom, hotly pursued by the King's assassins. Pericles is heading for home in Tyre, where he will surely be reasonably safe from the King, when he suffers from another apparent intervention by fate: a storm that wrecks his ships and washes him up on a shore.
The opening of Act II places Fate firmly in the role of a kind of devilish god, playing with the fortunes of men. Pericles crawls up onto the shore and says, "yet cease your ire, you angry stars of heaven" (II.1,1), and then continues with:
Just as Fate or "heaven" has put him in an impossible situation vis--vis the riddle which should have won him the hand of a princess, so now it conspires against him to shipwreck him. The idea that human beings, even royal ones such as Pericles, are merely a "substance" that must yield to the exigencies of fate is an excellent image for the whole relationship between personal destiny and those forces within the play.
Indeed, event eh King and his daughter might be regarded as "victims" of fate in the same manner, as it was "heaven" that apparently gave her the irresistible nature that tempted the King into incest in the first place. But Fate this time has actually smiled on Pericles through wrecking him on the shores of Pentapolis, for he discovers that the King of that land is holding a tournament in which the winner will have the hand of his daughter in marriage. Remarkably undeterred by his recent experiences with such competitions, Pericles enters the tournament and wins, thus gaining the princess with whom there is a strong mutual attraction. It is the randomness of the storm which places the character in such a strange situation. A prince is used to the idea of being in control of what occurs, not at the victim of unseen forces.
Fate wielding what is surely a form of 'justice' seems to have occurred as we learn that Antiochus and his daughter have been killed by a "fire from heaven" that has burned them up while they are riding in their chariot. This is not random, but rather a just punishment for their incestuous relationship. Again, the King's attempt to control his own situation is dashed metaphorically (and this time literally) from above.
Pericles appears to be very unlucky as far as storms go, because as he is returning to Tyre with