The Epilogue is a prayer to the audience, at the end of the play to clap and applaud the play. It is dramatists apology to the audience. Prospero now addresses the audience, half as Prospero still, half as the actor how he has played the part of Prospero. He tells the audience that, though he has broken his magic staff, their spell still binds him. He asks the audience for the approval of his performance by the clapping of hands and thus, to break their spell, He is no longer Prospero, the powerful magician, for he has broken his magic staff. He is now a humble actor in the hands of the audience waiting for their applause to let him leave the stage and join his fellow actors. Now that they have watched the play and seen him recover his Dukedom, he implores them to let him go off the stage. He requests them to release him with their applause. If the actors do not succeed in obtaining cheers, their play has failed, for they aimed at pleasing the audience. He cannot compel approval new because he has abjured his magic; he can only pray to them to be merciful to the faults of actors and play, otherwise he will be left in despair. No life is ever lived Which does not need to receive as well as to render forgiveness. As they Would have their own sins forgiven, so he should be given liberty to go. He, therefore, petitions the audience for pardon and freedom.
Critical Comments :
Opinions are divided among critics about the authorship of this ‘Epilogue’, whether it really belongs to Shakespeare. Grant White complains of “the poor and commonplace thoughts.” Boas defends the Epilogue as Shakespeare’s and points out that the “run on lines and unrhythmical pauses are just what we should expect from Shakespeare at this period.” Morten Luce writes ; “As to any doubt that the poetic level of the Epilogue is below Shakespeare, we are never sure of his impatient genius when it is fettered by rhyme; and just now it is more than ever impatient.‘