Guide to Literary Terms Epilogue

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Epilogue - a concluding part added to such a literary work as a novel, play, or long poem. It is the opposite of a prologue. Sometimes, the word is used to refer to the moral of a fable. Often, we see it as a speech by one of the actors at the end of a play asking for the indulgence of the critics and audience.

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The word comes from the Greek epilogos, meaning “conclusion,” and was formed by combining epi, meaning “upon,” and legein, meaning “to speak.”

Shakespeare used an epilogue at the end of his A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this and all is mended:
That you have but slumbered 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.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ’scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long.
Else the Puck a liar call.
So good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
Act V, scene i : lines 440 – 455

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