As You Like It by William Shakespeare Epilogue Summary

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After a joyful dance, all the players exit the stage except Rosalind, who steps up to deliver the Epilogue. (This was a stage tradition; in some – though not all – Renaissance plays, the hero of the play would address a short speech directly to the audience after the storyline had concluded and the stage had cleared.) Rosalind’s speech is light-hearted and full of fun: she asks women to appreciate the play, for the sake of the love they have for men, and for men to approve of it for the sake of the love they have for women. The speech also makes jokes about the confusion of Rosalind’s own gender: since on Shakespeare’s stage, heroines were always played by young boys, in the Epilogue the boy-actor acknowledges for the first time that he is not really a woman, saying that if he were he would kiss all the handsome men in the audience who had clean breath. As such Epilogues usually did, Rosalind’s speech concludes by asking the audience to show its approval by clapping enthusiastically for the play.