A beautiful portrait of life-cycle presented by : William Shakespeare in his Poem "The Seven Ages Of Man".

Written by:  William Shakespeare in one of his play entitled “As You Like It

Shakespeare wrote his poem in the form of a monologue. Jacques’, one of the characters of this play speaks these lines in Act –II, scene - VII

Enjoy in audio


All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players,

They have their exits and 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.

Then, the whining schoolboy with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like 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 towards 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.

  • First, Age               an Infant
  • Second, Age          a School Boy
  • Third, Age             a Lover
  • Fourth, Age           a Justice
  • Fifth, Age              a Justice
  • Sixth, Age             Slippered Pantaloon
  • Seventh, Age-Old (Second Chillness)

Overview and Explanation

First Age: - Here poet tells that a person takes his entrance on life’s stage in the form of birth and plays his first role as a kid who keeps crying and vomiting all the time in his mother’s lap.

Second age: - He starts to play a role of a school-going boy whose image is shown with his satchel going to school unwillingly. However, his face looks brighter because of his innocent childishness that is completely free from any kind of selfishness, jealousy, ego, pride, and any other emotion like these. Until now, he is unaware of worldliness.

Third age: - here comes the description of teenage years where he plays the role of the lover. A lover misses his lover and sings sad songs and sometimes in praise of his beloved’s eyebrows. He feels anxious and annoying without her. He sighs like a furnace that can even alter the shape of hard iron. 

Fourth age: - at this age, he becomes an adult and behaves responsibly for his family and society like a soldier who becomes aware of his pride and place in society. He becomes aggressive towards his position in society. He wants to establish himself in a great place. Due to his eagerness in this, he starts feeling jealous of others. While performing his duties he forgets his daily grooming action like shaving etc and starts wearing beards and looks like a leopard. For his responsibilities and pride, he is ready to give his life in the name of his honour.

Fifth age: - this age comes with many life experiences. Here he tries to be an example for his next generations. He tries to wear decent clothes and savings. He tries to explain everything with suitable examples. Physically he becomes slightly fat and slow.

Sixth age: - this age comes with physical weakness, here he feels rather weak. His duties seem to him rather harder than earlier. He puts on loose-fitting clothes. Due to weak eyesight, he wears a spectacle, which comes slipping and stops at his nose. He generally sees with a pouch on his side for daily tasks. We can take it as if he has so many things to tell others. This age is mere oblivion of his early stories. He becomes so weak so he cannot travel a lot now. Now his voice also changes and becomes rather thin. Because of low stamina, low confidence.

Seventh age: - this is his last role on this stage of earth. We know it as second childishness because now he is now unable to perform his daily tasks. He is completely dependent on others like a kid who cannot do anything like eating, seeing, listening, and even taking bath. Here he loses every sense helpful to live a life. Like taste, vision, listening, touch, etc. 

Figures of Speech Used in the Poem

All the world is a stage


And all men and women are merely players


Seeking the bubble reputation


Sighing like furnace


Creeping like a snail


Shrunk shank


Plays his part


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