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William Shakespeare Seven Ages of Man

It is a known fact that the ‘Seven Ages of Man’ by William Shakespeare refer to the seven stages of mankind. This is one of the most celebrated poems of William Shakespeare. Here, the world is compared to a stage and all men are, to the poet actors of the great play called life. His acts are divided into seven stages according to the poet.

William Shakespeare Seven Ages of Man

The seven ages of man by William Shakespeare poem story


The poem is actually a speech given by one of his characters named Jacques in his play As You Like it. Jacques is a pessimistic character who the poet uses to portray the life of a man in seven different parts. Birth is compared to an entrance in the play and death, an exit from it.

The Poem Text: Seven Ages of Man

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players,
They have their exits and entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then, the whining schoolboy with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

William Shakespeare Seven Ages of Man
William Shakespeare Seven Ages of Man

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice
In fair round belly, with good capon lin’d,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws, and modern instances,
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side,
His youthful hose well sav’d, a world too wide,
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again towards childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Seven Stages of man
What are the seven stages of life?

What are the 7 ages of man according to William Shakespeare?

The Seven Stages of Man as Illustrated by the Poem are as Follows:

Infancy- A stage where man knows nothing

Childhood- A stage where he goes to school

The lover- A stage of youth

The soldier- His thinking becomes more altruistic in nature.

The justice- A stage of social status and prosperity

Old age- His personality is shrinked, He has grown old

Death- He becomes dependent on others and finally dies.

According to astrologers, the poem also refers to the seven planets as specifically placed in William Shakespeare’s horoscope. For them, the infant is the moon. The next stage is symbolized by Mercury. Venus is the lover of the third stage. Mars, Jupiter, and Cancer follow next.

The seven ages of man by William Shakespeare summary

The seven ages of man by Willaim Shakespeare poem meaning:

In the poem, the seven ages of man, Shakespeare describes the life of man starting from infancy, a stage when he knows nothing. He then passes the childhood, where he learns and understands different things.  The child grows up to become a youth and he turns into a lover.

Slowly he becomes a soldier, that is, the man develops a more altruistic and sacrificing character. The mature man develops prosperity and wisdom and then descends into old age. The old age is when his personality weakens and he becomes tires of the journey of life. Life finally comes to an end with the arrival of death.

Jacques in As You Like It
Jacques in As You Like It

What is the alliteration of seven ages of man?

In the poem, Shakespeare did not use alliteration as a device to explain the seven stages that a man goes through in his life. Alliteration refers to the repetition of same-sounding letters or words. Although Shakespeare was a master in using these devices in his poems and plays, the seven ages of man is not a perfect example of his alliteration.

What is the moral of the seven ages of man?

What is the main idea of

Shakespeare in his poem talks about the impermanence of man’s life and states that nothing in this world is permanent. He demonstrates the cycle of life through the seven stages, that is, man’s journey from birth to death. The moral would, therefore, be that we must accept all stages of our life including death.

Seven ages of man theme

The seven ages of man primarily talks about the temporality life and that death is inevitable.

What is the world called in seven ages of man?

The world is described as a stage, the poem Seven Ages of Man, where people only come to enact the different roles they play in their lives. When the role is over, they have to leave, that is, die at the end.

More Info On- William Shakespeare as a Poet, Shakespeare Seven Ages of Man, William Shakespeare Biography, Sonnets

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