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The Seven Ages Summary in English by William Shakespeare
The Seven Ages Summary in English
In this poem, Shakespeare has divided human life into seven stages, with each stage having its own qualities and characteristics.
Shakespeare considers the world a stage and men and women actors on the stage of life. They play seven roles on the stage depending upon their age. At first, is the infant carried by his nurse. He cries and vomits most of the time. The infant grows into a bright-faced, complaining schoolboy, unwilling to go to school. The next stage is that of the lover, who is lost in thoughts of his beloved and writes poetry to her beauty. As he grows older, he joins the army. He is aggressive, short- tempered, and ambitious at this stage.
With age comes maturity and wisdom, and the family man has the vocation of a judge. He advises people and his look is serious and authoritative. The man grows older and becomes weak. His authority grows less and his voice trembles as he talks. Lastly, the senile old man loses his teeth, his vision, and his hearing. This is the last stage. After this, man makes his exit from the stage of life.
The Seven Ages Summary Questions and Answers
On the basis of your understanding of the poem, answer the following questions by ticking the correct choice.
a. All the world’s a stage is an extended metaphor for:
(i) the life shown in well known plays.
(ii) seeing the well known plays. .
(iii) life of well known actors.
(iv) life of man that comes to an end.
life of man that comes to an end
b. All ‘have their exits and their entrances Exits and entrances refer to:
(i) birth and death
(ii) beginning and end of play
(iii) coming and going of actors
(iv) the end of the Shakespearean era
birth and death
c. The seven roles that a man plays correspond to:
(i) chronological age in life
(iii) mental age in life
(iv) idea of a perfect life
mental age in life
Having read this extract, identify the stages of a person’s life as Shakespeare has done. Write down these stages in your note book, and sum up the characteristics of each stage in two or three words.
Stage – Characteristic feature
infancy – crying
schoolboy – reluctant to go to school
lover – sighing for the mistress
soldier – active and quick tempered
judge – wise
Oldman – shrunken and child like
death – beyond all expressions
Explain the meaning of the following.
a. ‘… all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances… ’
All human beings are acting out what destiny has in store for them. Thus, all human beings are actors on the stage of life.
b. ‘And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace… ’
A lover’s heart is more sentimental than anybody else’s. Thus, his sigh is an expression of his sentiment.
c. ‘a soldier,
… Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. ’
A soldier is quick and impulsive. His honour is more important to him than his life. Thus, he would rather give up his life, in the line of fire, than his honour.