Epilogue: Definition and Examples

Epilogue (etymologically from Greek “Epilogus,” literally means “conclusion,” or “recapitulation”), refers to a short text added at the end of a discourse as a reminder of the chief points.

In the literature, an epilogue exists at the final segment of the play, and serves to make known the fates of the characters, especially to arouse the emotions of the audience. Most often, the epilogue is used as tool that affords the main character the privilege to have an open speech directly to the audience.

Epilogue exists for the very purpose of subtracting from the length of the discourse in form of a recapitulation of the highlights; and to arouse the emotions of the audience to make the judgment the speaker urges.

An epilogue is only appropriate to a long speech, and not a short speech. AristotleOpens in new window observes that the length of the epilogue should be proportional to the speech, and suggests that asyndetonOpens in new window (the omission of conjunctions) is a figure especially well suited to the epilogue, for the logical connections between the speakers’ points have been established, and it is now enough to simply remind the audience. He cites an example very similar to the ending of Lysias 12 (‘I have spoken; you have listened, you have the facts, you judge’) but says nothing about the force of such a closing.

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