"All the World's A Atage" Summary and Critical Analysis, a poem(actually a play's lines) by William Shakespeare



The words "All the world's a stage" are actually taken from William Shakespeare's play "As You Like It". With these words begins the monologue (a loud speech to oneself) by a character in Act II of the play. Shakespeare has been a great playwright and poet of his era. He views life realistically. Shakespeare is known for the realism of his writings and is amongst the most quotable authors in world. The poem's theme is that man is the ultimate loser in the game of life.
He says "all the world's a stage and "all the men and women merely its players". Every player plays seven roles during his life. The first stage is that of an infant when he is a helpless child in his mother's arms. He merely pukes in the nurse's arms. In the second role, he is a child who goes "creeping like a snail unwillingly to school". We may notice that man keeps on losing one quality and blessing while qualifying for another one.

The third stage brings before us the lover who sings woeful ballads for his beloved. In the youthful age when man is full of energy and might, he may do everything to please his beloved. Even this shift of life, filled with merry making and joyous songs, passes so quickly as well. Soldier, the fourth stage arrives swiftly; here man seeks fame though it is temporary and short lived.

He endangers his life for it. But it is nothing more than a bubble. Fifth role is of a middle aged man. He has round belly. He cites modern instances. In sixth age, man becomes very weak. He keeps pouch with him. He wears warm hoses. His shank has shrunk. "His big manly voice is turning again towards childish treble". His voice is not clear due to loss of teeth. In the last stage, the condition of man becomes very miserable. Now he has grown very old and weak.

He has no relations. He has lost all. He is:

"sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste and sans everything.

He has lost all his relations. At this stage, man feels that life is nothing except sheer loss for man though he may boast of the success and achievements he has got in his past life. Shakespeare wishes to make us realize that the short life we spend in this world is not worth it if we have a close observation of it. Life is nothing more than a shadow. So, spend it bravely and eagerly. Be not a passer by.




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