However, on the other hand, the ending of the play is appropriate, as Prospero’s dukedom has been restored, even though the people who usurped it in the first place may not have changed at all, and may therefore try to usurp him again. In spite of this of transformation of Prospero’s character has undoubtedly taken place, and this is summarised in the epilogue of the play, “Now my charms are all o’erthrown and what strength I have’s mine own”.
This emphasises the point that Prospero is ready to rule on his. He has made a huge sacrifice in giving up all the magical arts that gave him such power as to call “forth the mutinous winds” and to reawaken the dead, “graves at my command have waked their sleepers”. This hence shows that Prospero has undergone a huge transformation in that he is willing to sacrifice such things that gave him such power, and rule with his own human power.Order now
However, the epilogue also acts as a way of showing why the ending of the play is unclear, in that Shakespeare has created possible doubts as to whether the characters are truly changed and reformed and ready to return to their current positions. It is in fact the audience that decides what happens to the characters, as Shakespeare does not show the characters getting on a boat to sail back to Italy, nor does he show whether the characters have changed for the better.
Instead he includes the epilogue as a way of addressing the audience and showing them that if they do not believe that the characters are ready to leave the island, then they never leave, as it is the audience who finish the story. “I must here be confined by you or sent to Naples. Let me not… dwell in this bare island by your spell”. This links not only to play itself, in that it is not completely finished by Shakespeare, and requires the audience’s imagination to decide the conclusion of the play, but it links to Shakespeare’s theatre, and Shakespeare’s magic of creating plays.
The epilogue is a way of asking the audience to show whether they enjoyed the play by applauding, “release my from my bands, with the help of your good hands… gentle breath of yours my sails must fill, or else my project fails… let your indulgence set me free”. If the audience did not enjoy the play, then Shakespeare has no power, and hence “project” refers not only to Prospero’s project to return power and reform characters, but to Shakespeare’s writing, which is worthless without approval of the audience.
Hence, in conclusion the ending is appropriate as it gives the audience the power to decide the ending, and the result of Prospero’s project, and whether he deserves to rule as a duke, or remain trapped on the island, and because it shows how without the audience, Shakespeare’s plays are worthless. Therefore although the ending shows some uncertainty as to whether people are truly transformed, the final speech shows that it is not Shakespeare’s job to decide the result of the play, with relation to both the characters, and whether or not the play is a success.