We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is an Epilogue?

By Dee Jones
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In literature, an epilogue is a chapter added at the end of a novel, short story, play, or even poem. Epilogues can also appear in works of nonfiction. After the climax in a work of fiction, an epilogue shows the reader, or viewer in the case of a play, what happened to the characters after the story ended. The epilogue can also be used to hint at a sequel to the current story, or to show that the characters’ problems might not truly be over, a popular technique in horror and suspense stories.

Many fiction writers use epilogues to provide closure for the readers or viewers who, after having invested in the characters during the course of the narrative, might want to know the fates of those characters. The epilogue can also be used to tie up loose ends, resolving issues that were brought up in the narrative but not resolved before the story’s climax. An epilogue can take place at any time after the story has ended; it can be set a few hours later, the next day, or several decades into the future. Epilogues are often used to show the protagonist of a story leading a happy and contented life after surviving the upheaval and strife he experienced during the narrative.

Epilogues aren’t always used to show a happy ending to a character’s story. In many literary works, especially those in which an anti-hero is the lead character, the epilogue might show that character finally suffering the consequences of his poor moral choices. In many horror and suspense novels, the epilogue is used to hint at a lingering threat. The characters might believe the monster or villain has been defeated, but the epilogue shows that the danger isn’t over, and the characters aren’t as safe and secure as they might believe. The epilogue can also be used to show that a story isn’t truly over, and there will be another installment or sequel.

Sometimes, after a novel, short story or play is over, the writer will “step out of the story” and speak directly to the reader or audience. At the end of some plays, a character will step forward to thank the audience for watching the play. In some fables, the writer or storyteller will directly describe the lesson or moral the characters and readers should have learned from the story. After a non-fiction book about true events has been published, an epilogue might be added in later editions, giving an account of what happened after the events depicted in the book.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.