The term epilogue comes from a Latin word that in turn derives from a Greek word. It is used to name what closes an exhibition; that is, to perform a recapitulation on a topic that has been talked about extensively, by way of conclusion. It is usually found at the end of the last part of a work of fiction or conclusively at the end of an essay.
From another point of view, the epilogue can also refer to additional notes that do not belong to the main events narrated in the work, but that can contribute a lot to the understanding of it. A book that would analyze a part of the history of a country, it could include in its epilogue events that occurred in other parts of the continent or the world and that could have influenced in some way the situation in that country; In addition, they serve to guide the reader if they do not have previous knowledge about the country in question, to establish analogies with the time being discussed. This type of annex allows framing the historical situation of that country and collaborating with the understanding of the text on a large scale.
If you want to know in depth the meaning of the term, it is important to point out that it consists of two parts: epi (envelope) and logos (speech). In the field of rhetoric, therefore, this word refers to the final part of a speech, either oral or written. While the prologue is the introduction to the topic to be discussed, the epilogue closes those loose ends and the speech is concluded so that those who receive it can understand it in its entirety.
In a oral speechIn this part, the various themes that have been touched on are reviewed and associations between them are established. In that sense, the epilogue serves as a link for listeners to understand why it was necessary to talk about the different points that were exposed.
In narratology (science that studies the various parts of a narrative) the epilogue must meet a series of conditions to be considered as such; They depend on the type of work that has been developed and the objectives that are achieved with it. However, the fundamental point that should not be missed in any epilogue is its quality of conclusive and totalizer. This does not mean that a person can learn the plot of the work just by reading the epilogue, but it does mean that the fundamental points of the work must be present in this part. In addition, the author can use this last chapter to explain those things that at first glance have remained unfinished.
It should be noted in conclusion that the purpose of this annexed of the work is to add knowledge about those events that take place once the main plot has been finalized. In the case of sagas, for example, through the epilogue the authors can advertise future appearances.
Regarding the way in which they are written, many times the same style as the rest of the work, but on other occasions it can take shape from the speech of one of the characters, which gives it an extremely striking touch because it breaks with the speech to which the reader was accustomed.
An example of the latter is the epilogue to “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare. In it, Prospero, one of the characters, takes the floor to address the audience directly to announce that the play has ended. This new speech breaks with the structure of the work and gives it a decorous touch at the end.