Feb 10, 2015

All the World's a Stage


"All the world's a stage" is the phrase that begins a monologue from William Shakespeare's As You Like It, in Act II Scene VII. The speech compares the world to a stage and life to a play, and categorizes the seven stages of a man's life: infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, old age and facing imminent death.

The man in the poem goes through these stages all expressed in a sardonic and sometimes bitter tone:
  • Infancy: He is a helpless baby and knows little.
  • Whining schoolboy: He begins to go to school and is unwilling to leave the protected environment of his home. 
  • The lover: In this stage he is always sentimental, expressing his love in a silly manner. 
  • The soldier: He is uneasy and hot-headed. He is always working towards making a reputation for himself even at the cost of foolish risks.
  • The justice: In this stage he thinks he has acquired wisdom. He has reached a stage where he has gained prosperity and social status and becomes vain.  
  • Old Age: He is a shadow of his former self. He loses his firmness and shrinks in stature and personality.
  • Incapacity: Dependent on others for care and unable to interact with the world, he experiences "second innocence, and mere oblivion."
The audio is from a special trailer marking 80 years of original British drama from the BBC.


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