The little prologue and epilogue shots of Eastwood's farm---shot along the horizon, mostly in dawn or dusk silhouhette---are for me the only really poetic shots in the whole picture. But the closing shot had a curious moment where Eastwood's character, standing by the grave, literally disappears. In light of that---the illness he experienced in the middle of the film (before he arrived in town) when he thought he was dying (here's my crazy idea)---is it possible Eastwood is suggesting he really did die and it's all a dream that follows...or his "ghost" that carries out the vengeance?? I realize that's highly unlikely but I do wonder why I have that sense from these shots. Maybe I was hallucinating, lol. However, I must admit I like my version better if it is wrong.
What an interesting theory, MissGoddess. I read somewhere that Eastwood wanted to 'bury the Western' with Unforgiven. It would take the 'vengeance of the west' theme found throughout the genre to a fascinating conclusion if it was indeed his ghost the entire time. I'm not sure that's what Eastwood intended, but now I'm sort of hoping so!