Puck’s Epilogue

An epilogue is a short speech (often in verse) addressed directly to the audience by an actor at the end of a play. (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Puck delivers this epilogue:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d 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.” (V, i. 440-455)

What is he saying? How does this make you feel?

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~ by Mrs. Mundy on March 22, 2007.

19 Responses to “Puck’s Epilogue”

  1. He is saying that what we read/ saw was just a dream. None of it was real. It makes me feel like I just woke up on a Saturday morning because you don’t know what to believe or not.

  2. I’m not quite sure if this is rite, but what i think he is saying is that what you dream were events that had happened to you in the past.

  3. This makes me think of all the dreams that i had, that actually accured in my life.

  4. I think he’s saying that its your choice on whether or not it was true. He’s saying either you believe him or you think he was a lier and it all was just a dream.

  5. […] it for a busy Thursday afternoon.  Sons and in-laws await, and so I’ll steal a much better writer’s farewell until tomorrow. Explore posts in the same categories: Afghanistan, Snark, good writing, random […]

  6. I think he’s talking to people who slept through the performance, as I’m sure was common in those days, as in these.

  7. What it means is that if you did not like it, then treat it as a dream that never actually happened. If you did like it then “give me your hands” aka applause.

  8. He’s saying if we believe him to be honest as he suggests he is, although we know throughout the play he’s more of a trickster, then we can settle with the play. However, if we didn’t take a liking to the play and found Puck to be a gentle liar then he gives us something to think about– that it was merely a dream, none of it happened, none of it was real. We assume that Puck is lying because he’s a liar, but his playful ending kind of makes us re-think this. Afterall the play is a comedy with a happy ending, so Puck’s epilogue is needed in that regard to restore faith maybe, to this dream which is the summer’s dream as it is called A Midsummer NIGHT’S Dream, not A Midsummer Night Dream. How can we predict what the night is capable of other than dreams? He asks us to step into the night with him if we are his friends and be dreamers and believers with him. And by the end of his epilogue most of us have already become a dreamer.

  9. nullity void…

    […]Puck’s Epilogue « A Midsummer Night’s Dream[…]…

  10. You people have a most intriguing response to this epilogue. I have come to this piece by the orders of my superior otherwise known as my teacher. Your statements imply that the whole story was a dream or that is true but in order for the whole scenarion to be false then the fairies(Puck & Oberon) would not of had the idea to seperate them in the forest where Puck unleashed a sleepious fume and to which cause them to wake up next to each other. The whole ordeal must of been true because at the end of this piece the fairies are told to be making an exit of the stage representing that the play was to be true but also cause the reader to believe that it could have been either of the choices as to end and get the reader to want to know more about which it could be.

    Submitted by joe 14

  11. All of you are wrong, some more than others. One thing you all share in common is poor spelling and grammar. Puck is not saying that this whole sequence was a dream, but instead to treat it as one, to forget these events much like you would forget a dream once you woke up. So that if anyone in the audience was offended, then they can have some peace of mind with the return to the status quo following the end of the fairies meddling.

  12. It is a continuation of Quince’s prologue to “Pyramus and Thisby”, the play within the play. Quince’s prologue was directed to the main characters (his audience), while Puck’s epilogue is directed to the Bard’s audience.

  13. […] I’m looking for a teacher currently, and I am super excited! I chose Puck’s “epilogue” where he apologizes to the audience. It was my favorite of Puck’s monologues, it can […]

  14. He is saying that if you don’t accept what happened pretend it was a dream.

  15. I always feel like he’s offering an out to the audience in the first six lines. Essentially he’s saying “look if you didn’t like that play, let’s just say you dreamt it and have done with it.”

    Considering this was written in the days of public theatre essentially being a huge rowdy shouting contest, the rest of the speech seems to be saying. “Guys, chill. We all had fun tonight, I know it’s sad that it’s ending, but let’s all be friends and look out for each other (and maybe you’ll stop verbally abusing me and throwing stuff)”

    This is essentially Shakespeare’s version of “please leave the auditorium in a calm and orderly fashion”.

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