What purpose is served by Puck’s epilogue in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"?
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Puck speaks the final words at the end of the play in an attempt to make amends with the audience and apologize for the fairies' behavior during the performance. He asks that, "If we shadows have offended, / think but this, and all is mended, / that you have but slumb'red here / While these visions did appear. / And this weak and idle theme, / No more yielding but a dream, / Gentles, do not reprehend. / If you pardon, we will mend." Finally, he says, "So, good night unto you all. / Give me your hands, if we be friends, / And Robin shall restore amends."
Shakespearean comedies always end with a restoration of human relationships, and in this case the restoration includes the play's audience. Puck makes it clear that the fairies' mischief was not intended to cause harm, and that all will be set aright.
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