As You Like It


William Shakespeare

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As You Like It: Epilogue Summary & Analysis

Read our modern English translation of this scene.
Rosalind begins the Epilogue by acknowledging that it is unusual in a play for a woman to give the epilogue, but reasons that it is no more so than for the lord to give the prologue. She says that a good play shouldn’t need an epilogue, but can be improved by one. She adds that since she isn’t dressed like a beggar she won’t beg for their approval.
After a play in which she has pretended to be a man pretending to be a woman (who was herself), it is fitting that Rosalind should break from tradition and give the epilogue as a woman. It's also fitting given that she has often, in the course of the play, articulated the state of affairs (primarily in love and marriage.) Finally note how she continues to equate what one looks like and what one is by saying that she won't beg because she's not dressed like a beggar.
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Deeming that her task is to “conjure” the audience, Rosalind tells the women to like as much of the play as pleases them based on the love they hold for men. She says the same to the men, and jokes that if she were a woman, she would kiss every one in the audience who was good-looking, and clean, enough for her to admire them. She concludes by expressing her confidence that as many men as the number she admires will applaud as she curtsies her farewell.
Rosalind’s suggestion that she will “conjure” the audience is reminiscent of her promise to Orlando that she had magical powers and could thereby assure Rosalind’s presence. Rosalind might indeed be considered as a magician of sorts, in her ability to transcend normal gender roles, arrange marriages, and make both a man and a woman fall foolishly in love with her.
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Literary Devices