If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend,
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long,
Else the Puck a liar call.
So, goodnight unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

– William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 5, Scene 1. Puck asks forgiveness from the audience if the fairies, including himself, have offended any of the audience with their mischievous behavior and meddling in the world of mortals. He uses the metaphor of a hissing snake to represent the audience expressing frustration. If they don’t like what they have seen, he suggests that they think of it as a dream, a vision that occurred while they slept. In this final speech of the play, Puck is alone on stage and addressing the audience directly. He asks for their forgiveness and their applause.