summary of the chapter the seven ages
Shakespeare compares the world with a stage in a theatre and men and women with the players on that stage. Like the stage in the theatre, life too has its entrances and exits. A man plays his role through the seven ages of life. The first role/age is that of an infant. He cries and whines and vomits in the hands of his nurse. In the second stage of life, man plays the role of a little child. He carries a small schoolbag with him and has a shiny face, walking as slowly as possible because of his dislike of school. In the third stage of life, man plays the role of a lover. He falls in love passionately and sings a sad ballad about love, praising the beauty of his lover’s eyebrows. In the fourth stage of life, man plays the role of a soldier. He is full of strange oaths, bearded, and strives for honour, recognition and reputation, even faced with a cannon. In the fifth stage of life, man plays the role of a justice. He is well fed and has a fat belly. He is full of wise sayings. He uses his experience, wisdom and knowledge in the dispensation of justice. In the sixth stage of life, man becomes weak and fragile. He wears baggy clothes and his deep manly voice becomes high-pitched and whistly. Man’s last stage is that of extreme old age. This stage is compared to second childhood. He loses control over his senses and becomes dependent on others just like a child. He becomes a victim of forgetfulness and loses his teeth, eyesight, hearing, etc. and then, he passes away.
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