All The World A Stage And We Are Merely Players Essay

The Importance of Literary Devices in "The Seven Ages of Man" by William Shakespeare

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“All the world’s a stage the men and women merely players”. This line is the beginning of the “The Seven Ages of Man” and is a recurring question throughout the poem. You may wonder how the world is stage, and through his use of similes, metaphors, and imagery Shakespeare explains this elaborates on this question.
William Shakespeare’s use of similes in the “Seven Ages of Man” helps to start the poem and give it a meaning early on by adding emphasis on certain topics. For example in the beginning he uses the “men and women merely players” (Line 2) to explain that people don’t own the world but live in it. By using this simile he explains how people progress through life like a play, making an entrance to the stage and leaving afterwards.…show more content…

“All the world’s a stage the men and women merely players”. This line is the beginning of the “The Seven Ages of Man” and is a recurring question throughout the poem. You may wonder how the world is stage, and through his use of similes, metaphors, and imagery Shakespeare explains this elaborates on this question.
William Shakespeare’s use of similes in the “Seven Ages of Man” helps to start the poem and give it a meaning early on by adding emphasis on certain topics. For example in the beginning he uses the “men and women merely players” (Line 2) to explain that people don’t own the world but live in it. By using this simile he explains how people progress through life like a play, making an entrance to the stage and leaving afterwards. In addition to that he also uses several other similes to describe the transitions in life, such as when he compares the schoolboy to a snail. This helps you understand how he is no longer a mewling infant but a sluggish boy. Next he compares the man’s beard to a pard helping you create the image of an older man showing the transition from the schoolboy to a man has passed. Furthermore the similes used help put emphasis on the occurring phase by using unique adjectives in the comparisons such as; creeping, pard, and mewling. These adjectives help you create images of each generic phase the boy goes through. Through the series of events in the poem Shakespeare uses three metaphors to enhance the interpretation of the poems topics. The first

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                            ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE

William Shakespeare

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their 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.

And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel,

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like a 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 toward 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

 CONTEXT

In this poem ‘Shakespeare’ has very skillfully described the life of human beings in seven stages. He points out that the nature of human life is transitory (here today and gone tomorrow). He says that this world is like a stage and all men and women are like actors on this stage. They play their roles on it and depart from this mortal stage.

CRITICAL SUMMARY

This poem is a master piece of Shakespeare’s keen observation and fine poetry. He is regarded the world’s greatest dramatist and poet. In this poem Shakespeare has masterfully divided and described human life into seven stages spanning (crossing) infancy to old age. He compares the world with a big stage and all human beings with actors playing their allotted roles.

Man first appears on this stage as an infant crying and vomiting in the nurse’s arms. Then he is seen as a school boy with a glowing morning face walking slowly and reluctantly to school. Sooner, he grows into a young man burning with the passion of love and singing in praise of his beloved. The fourth stage is that of an ambitious soldier who is ready to embark on (take on) any adventure in order to gain honor and fame.

In the next stage he plays his part as a wise and quiet man who is ready to dispense justice. The sixth stage finds him as an old man with spectacles on the nose and big pouch in his hand. His size shrinks and his manly voice turns into thin childish voice. His last stage is very miserable as he loses almost all his senses and joys of life. In the last line he says:“Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything” which means without teeth, without eyes, without taste. Shakespeare has called this stage as the second childhood.

The poem draws a sad and pessimistic picture of human life. The underlying meaning is that of temporariness and changing phases of life that pass rather too quickly. The deeper meaning of the poem is that of the transience (briefness, brevity) of life and the brief span of importance of fame that “WE” as actors enjoy and then are heard no more.

By:

Sanjran Gichki

IMCB F-10/4    Islamabad

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