An epilogue comes at the end of a text, and it provides a comment or reflection on what has occurred in the text. An epilogue is the opposite of a prologue, which comes at the beginning and provides background information prior to the story. The purpose of an epilogue is to provide commentary or additional information after the conclusion of the text. Often, we learn the fates of the characters in the epilogue.
Epilogue from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet:
"A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
The sun for sorrow will not show his head.
Go hence to have more talk of these sad things,
Some shall be pardoned, and some punished,
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo."
Epilogue from Shakespeare's As You Like It:
"It is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue; but it is no more unhandsome than to see the lord the prologue. If it be true, that good wine needs no bush, 'tis true that a good play needs no epilogue. Yet to good wine they do use good bushes; and good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues. What a case am I in then, that am neither a good epilogue, nor cannot insinuate with you in the behalf of a good play? I am not furnished like a beggar, therefore to beg will not become me: my way is, to conjure you; and I'll begin with the women. I charge you, О women, for the love you bear to men, to like as much of this play as please you; and I charge you, О men, for the love you bear to women (as I perceive, by your simpering, none of you hate them) that between you and the women the play may please. If I were a woman, I would kiss as many of you as had beards that pleased me, complexions that liked me, and breaths that I defied not: and I am sure, as many as have good beards, or good faces, or sweet breaths, will, for my kind offer, when I make curt'sy, bid me farewell."
From Shakespeare's 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 unearnèd 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.
Literary Terms Examples