Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 313
After the wedding dance, Rosalind steps forward and addresses the audience. She comments that a good play needs no epilogue, just as a good wine needs no bush-a reference to the ivy bush vintners in Shakespeare's time used on signs of their trade. Yet she argues that even good plays can be improved with the help of good epilogues. She apologizes for not being a good epilogue, and adds that she cannot slyly gain the audience's approval, for she is not dressed like a beggar; thus, it is improper to plead for an ovation. Instead, she will "conjure" the audience into applause. She addresses the women in the audience, telling them "for the love you bear to men, to like as much of this play that please you." To the men she comments that she hopes the play has pleased them as well. "If I were a woman," she remarks, "I would kiss as many of you as had beards that pleased me." She adds that she would like as many of the men "as have good beards, or good faces, or sweet breaths" to applaud when she curtsies and exits.
In Shakespeare's time, of course, the role of Rosalind was acted by a young man. Rosalind, in expressing the hope that the audience has enjoyed the play, humorously acknowledges this fact. Her reference to conjuring recalls her fanciful tale of being trained by a sorcerer and the "magic" she promises and delivers at the end of the play. Her comments are self-effacing, yet at the same time they appeal to the audience's vanity. If all the women in the audience who liked part of the play and all the men who felt they had "good beards, or good faces, or sweet breaths," responded to her entreaties, she would have been greeted at her exit by a hearty round of applause.
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