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Summary

Widely acclaimed as a meditative poem, the Seven Ages by William Shakespeare captures the reality that a human being undergoes from birth to death. The poem mirrors the different stages in the life of a man and tries to universalise the feelings, moods and aspirations of human beings vis-a-vis the different stages of life. Replete with similes and metaphors, the poem shows Shakespeare 's master craftsmanship as a poet other than a playwright.
The poem opens with a profound observation loaded with meaning on the nature of the world we live in. The poet compares this world to a stage and men and women to the actors and actresses who
have to play their roles as entrusted by Nature. As in a play, the playwright-poet mentions that our acts may be classified into the seven ages. We have simply to perform different roles in different ages as scripted by Nature.
In the first stage, a human being is an infant. The infant pukes and murmurs in the nurse 's arms. Subsequently, infancy gives way to the school going stage when a person having a face fresh like the morning walks reluctantly to the school with bags hanging on the shoulders. Post this stage, the stage of youth sets in when one experiences the feelings of love and romance. After this stage, an individual enters the phase when one has to fight against all odds like a soldier to make a living. At this stage he wants to be famous also. Having lived this stage, an individual enters a very mature phase when he assumes the role of a detached judge and advisor sharing wisdom and knowledge, gleaned from experience, with others. After this stage,the individual experiences the old age. His /her legs become thin and lean, voice starts trebling. At last, the poet describes how an individual enters the last stage of one 's life which is comparable to second childhood. At this final stage , an individual without teeth,eyes,taste and everything, is once again dependent on others and having acted in so many roles gets ready to exit from the stage of this world through the process of death.

Page No: 81

3. On the basis of your understanding of the poem, answer the following questions by ticking the correct choice 

(a) All the world is 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 plays
(iv) Life of man that comes to an end

Answer 
(iv) 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

Answer 
(i) Birth and death

Page No: 82

(c) The seven roles that a man plays correspond to his___________.
(i) chronological age in life
(ii) desires
(iii) mental age in life
(iv) idea of a perfect life

Answer 
(i) chronological age in life

4. 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. e.g. 
Stage Characteristic feature 
Infancy crying 
Answer

Stage 
Characteristic feature
Infancy
Crying, helpless
Childhood
Whining, bright, alert, active
Lover
sentimental, unhappy, poetic,
tense
Soldier
quarrelsome, short tempered,
foolishly looking for glory and
fame in the jaws of death
Justice
Wise, mature, authoritative, responsible
Old age
getting weak and lean due to
failing health, loss of manly
voice
Extreme Old Age
Clueless ,dependent















6. Explain the meaning of the following

(a) __________ all the men and women merely players
They have their exits and their entrances __________.
Answer
The quoted lines are from the poem “The Seven Ages” by William Shakespeare. The poet has compared the world to a stage and men and women with actors.All men and women appear on the stage of the world to play various roles. They are just stage artists. Their birth marks their appearance on the stage and death
denotes their departure.

(b) And then the lover 
Sighing like furnace__________.
Answer 
The lines are taken from the poem “The Seven Ages” by William Shakespeare. With the help of a simile, the poet explains that on attaining adolescence, men fall in love. The passion of love becomes active like heat generated in a furnace. However, this surging passion also declines after crossing a certain point of time. In this line, the poet hints at momentary nature of human affairs.

(c) a soldier,__________Seeking the bubble reputation 
Even in the cannon’s mouth.
Answer 
The quoted lines are from the poem “The Seven Ages” by William Shakespeare. The poet has compared a young man to a soldier who takes his responsibilities very seriously and strives relentlessly when dedicated to a cause. In his youth, man seeks instant fame and is ready to take risks. However, when one seeks instant fame, there is a big risk of their reputation getting tainted, just like a bubble that rises and bursts instantly. 

7. Read the poem again and note down the metaphors and similes. Copy and complete the following chart.

Item
Metaphor
Simile
Word
All the word’s stage

Men, Women


School-boy


Lover


Soldier


Reputation


Voice


Which comparison(s) do you find most interesting? Why?
Answer  
According to me school boy comparison is really interesting one. Here, poet shows a boy carrying a schoolbag but at the same time walking slowly towards school. He don't want to go to school. This phase common in these days


Item
Metaphor
Simile
Word
All the word’s stage

Men, Women
men and women merely players

School-boy

Creeping like snail
Lover

Sighing like a furnace
Soldier
a bearded pard

Reputation
bubble reputation

Voice
Big mainly voice





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