Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Seven Ages by William Shakespeare free essay sample

He becomes very attentive of his looks and begins to enjoy the finer things of life. †¢ Old age: He begins to lose his charm both physical and mental. He begins to become the brunt of others jokes. He loses his firmness and assertiveness and shrinks in stature and personality. †¢ Mental dementia and death: He loses his status and he becomes a non-entity. He becomes dependent on others like a child and is in need of constant support before finally dying. The poem commences with life being compared to a huge stage where all of us are only actors. Each person has an entry into the world at birth and exits it at death. According to Shakespeare, every man plays several parts during his life time. On the stage of life every man has seven acts. The first act of man is infancy. At this time all that the baby does is cry and puke on his nurses lap. After he goes through his infant life, he emerges as a school child who slings his bag over his shoulder and creeps most unwillingly to school. At the next stage in life, the young man is a lover who is busy composing ballads for his beloved and sighing deeply for her attention. He graduates into a bearded soldier who promises solemnly to guard his country. He is filled with national pride, is quick to be insulted and is always ready to spring up in defence. At this point of time he is more concerned with status and reputation. From the agile soldier, he goes on to become a judge whose waistline grows as he becomes fatter and fatter. He wears a short, formal beard and his eyes become intense. He is full of wisdom, speaking to everyone in a just and wise manner. After he has played this part, he goes into the sixth age. He becomes thin, wears spectacles, the skin around him hangs loosely. He is made fun of as being a funny old man. His youth has been left behind. His clothes hang loosely around him and his once manly voice turns into a high pitched, childish one. With this, man enters the last act where he experiences his second childhood as he becomes dependent on people once more. He is overcome by senility and forgetfulness as he loses his faculties of sight, hearing, smell and taste, slowly and ultimately dies. Background of the Poem William Shakespeare was a great playwright and a poet who reflected the intricacies and realities of life in a very subtle manner. In his famous play As You Like It, Jacques gives a speech about the seven stages in a mans life. Jacques speech became a masterpiece and extracts of the speech are often quoted in literature. Since Jacques was a melancholy character, he presents a negative picture of life. Summary Through Jacques, Shakespeare puts forth the view that the world is a stage in which human beings play their part. There are seven acts like seven stages in a mans life. A person performs multifarious roles in a single life-time. In the beginning, he is a crying baby in the arms of the nurse. Infancy is followed by school-going stage, when he is bright-eyed, trudging unwillingly to school. In the third stage, he grows into a lover, writing poems in praise of his beloved and sighing like a furnace. Then he plays the role of a soldier, who is rash, and who willingly sacrifices his life for honour. In the next role he is a Judge, well-fed, prosperous, fat and fierce-eyed. He is always in a mood of impressing others and is full of wise maxims. The next stage depicts man to be weak, thin, wearing spectacles and slippers. His clothes are loose and legs are thin and his voice is shrill like that of a child. At the end comes the last stage when he loses his memory, teeth, eyes, taste, in fact everything. It is like a second childhood as he has to depend on others for everything. Thus ends the drama of his eventful life. Summary In this poem, Shakespeare describes various stages of human life. He compares this world to a stage where men and women as actors and actresses perform the drama of human life. The birth and death of human beings is similar to the entrance and exit of characters of stage. This point of view reflects his deep affiliation with theatre. Shakespeare says that each human being performs seven parts in this small drama on the stage of the world. He makes his entry as a baby who is fully dependent upon others. This stage ends when the infant grows into a school child. Shakespeare describes him as a boy having a face fresh like morning, with his bag hanging on his side, walking appropriately to school. In the beginning he does not like going to school but gradually his thinking changes. When time passes onwards the schoolboy transformed into a youngster. He is not an adult yet and due to lack of maturity, he indulges in infatuations. The young man through years of experience emerges as a brave soldier. His desires and ambitions give a more aggressive look. He has become hasty and fights over minor issues. He wants to become famous at all costs. The age of bravery soon passes away by giving way to a mature and sensible phase when he plays the role of a judge. He has cold, unemotional eyes and wears a beard of formal cut. He gives lectures to people and delivers wise sayings. The stage also comes to an end and the sixth age arrives. The wise judge is an old man now. His legs are thin and body has shrunk and his strong voice changes into a squeaking voice. The seventh and the last stage of a mans life is the time of exit. He is once again dependent upon others as he was in infancy. Shakespeare has called this age second childhood. According to Jacques, the whole world is a stage where man enacts different parts depending on the stages of his life. He progresses by tracing the first stage of mans life infancy and childhood, wherein the child registers his protest against the various disciplining forces of life. The school boy goes to school very reluctantly. According to Jacques, the next phase is one rash and reckless youth, depicted through the figure of the dejected lover and the intrepid soldier. The lover sighs as loudly as the noise made by powerful furnace. He follows the traditional way of wooing his lover by writing a poem to describe his lovers beauty. The Stages of Soldier, Justice, Aged Man and Second Childishness in the Seven Ages of Man The soldier typifies youth and is prepared to die for his reputation. This is followed by a phase of complacence and hypocritical wisdom in the middle years as seen in the personality of the rich and well fed justice. Jacques prefers to focus on the negative side of old age as seen in the case of the Pantaloon. This aging man has shrunk physically as well as mentally. The clothes he had worn in his youth, now do not fit his shrunken body. His voice is no longer manly. It is squeaky and childish. He slides pathetically towards the last stage of senility and oblivion, helpless as an infant. He has lost all his faculties. The very first two lines of the poem exemplify Shakespeares notions regarding Life, Destiny and Providence. He strongly believes in preconceived notions regarding life. The poet comprehends that the stage is set by the Ultimate Creator, and we are mere puppets out to act our roles out as directed by Him. Their exits and entrances are stage-managed or predetermined. A man generally plays seven typical parts. Like Ben Jonsons flat character types based on the theory of humours, these are typified mainly according to age of the person. In the first stage, he is the infant, in the second, he is the schoolboy . Though he is endowed with a shining face and the vigour of youth, he moves likes a snail unawares of the blessings he is attributed with. He is afraid of what the world holds in store for him, and apprehensive of moving out of his protective shell. Then comes the lover who visualizes the world as a bed of roses. He is so obsessed with his love that he fails to see anything beyond that. Like a furnace, he burns with the effervescent emotion of love. He seeks pleasures in his woes. Subsequently comes the soldier who is as bearded as a pard or as hairy as a leopard. He wants to take the world by storm, full of promises. He seeks a bubble reputation, a transitory form of accomplishment that is real only for the present, never for the past or the future. He is impulsive in expressions, and instinctive in emotions. The judge was typically with a big belly and capon lined. The capon was a delicacy of times and used to bribe officers pertaining to the law. Therefore, Shakespeare indirectly points to the corrupt practices of the time He had a beard of formal cut, as his profession demanded of him and severe or keen eyes as required of a judge. His wise saws or age-old aphorisms are well-balanced with a modern outlook. The sixth stage that of the Pantaloon refers to the figure of Pantalone in the Italian Commedia dell Arte tradition. The figure was typified as a foolish character. Here Shakespeare caricaturizes him as being lean and slippered. A bespectacled man, he has a pouch by his side perhaps owing to his failing memory. The world is too wide for him now. Firstly, his shrunken size makes the world seem huger for it. Secondly, now as his utility value has gone down, he has become too small for the world. His manly voice mellows into a childish treble. There are pipes and whistles in his sound implying the squeaking, and also the loss of his masculinity. The last stage That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything. The word san is issued by Jacques to affect courtly French. Characterized by dementia, the person is also devoid of the sensory perceptions, and therefore no better off than an infant who at least possesses these.

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