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Shvoong Home>Books>Classic Literature>Summary of William Shakespeare's-'the Seven Ages of Man' Review

Summary of William Shakespeare's-'the Seven Ages of Man'

Book Review   by:akso6o175     Original Author: Andy Kester Sawian
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‘The Seven Ages of Man’ is taken from William Shakespeare’s famous play, ‘As You Like It’ (Act-II, Scene-VII), describes the seven phases in a man’s life-from childhood to old age. The world is but a global stage and all men and women presented here are mere puppets in the hands of destiny. Just like the infrastructures of a stage, the world has its own entrances and exits. Every man in his full lifetime has many parts to play. His total number of acts in his lifetime is the seven ages.
                 The first and foremost act of every human being is the stage of infancy, where he makes his presence felt by crying at the top of his voice and many a times vomiting any food or drink that is repulsive, at the nursing arms of his mother. This period normally last till four years of age. The second stage is the ‘whining’ schoolboy where he learns to utter a plaintive, high-pitched, protracted sound, as in pain, fear, supplication, or complaint. His shiny morning face and his satchel; a small bag, sometimes with a shoulder strap; he creeps like a snail and not willing to go to school.
           The third stage is his early youth, the peak of love and high romance. He sighs like a burning furnace and sings the sad ballads of romance; full of woe; affected with, characterized by, or indicating woe: woeful melodies; to impress his lover’s heart. The impression of her reply can be seen in her eyebrows. The fourth stage is that of a soldier where life if full of obligations, commitments, compliances, oaths and vows.  His beard is like a leopard or panther. He endlessly fights for his honor, a full presence of mind which is sudden and quick in quarrel and a heart to maintain a dignified reputation.
          The fifth stage is the adult-hood where a man tries to live a fair and justified life. His belly becomes bigger than normal. He is conscious about his diet and consumes a good intake of ‘capon’; a cockerel castrated to improve the flesh for use as food. His eyes are severe with seriousness and his beard is leveled to a formal cut. He is to take a lot of correct decisions to keep up with the ever changing times. So this stage is the most powerful stage in life.
            The sixth stage is the middle-age. Here is where he prepares himself for the next level in life i.e. old age. He learns to relax from the hustles of life. His strength begins to weaken and spends more time within the roof of his house. He looks like a buffoon and an old fool in his rugged old slippers. He hangs his spectacles on his nose for reading and all his youthful hose; a flexible tube for conveying a liquid, as water, to a desired point; saved for the world too wide. His shank begins to shrink with time; the part of the lower limb in humans between the knee and the ankle; leg. Even his voice begins to descend to a lower tone. In his free time, he smokes his pipe and whistles his matured melodies.
           The last stage is the old-age where he enters his second childhood. It is also the beginning of the end of his eventful history. It is also the stage of oblivion; the state of being completely forgotten or unknown; the state of forgetting or of being oblivious; official disregard or overlooking of offenses; He is without everything; without teeth, eyes and taste.
Published: June 24, 2010   
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  1. Answer   Question  :    what are the virtues advocated in this poem? View All
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