Analysis of "Seven Ages of Man" by William Shakespeare.
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Seven Ages of Man By William Shakespeare. Seven Ages of man is a poem written by William Shakespeare. It's actually a speech given by one of his characters named Jacques in his play As You Like it. Jacques is a pessimistic character who the poet uses to portray the life of a man in seven different parts. The first line of the poem "All the worlds a stage is a metaphor in which the world is associated with a stage. It is also the central metaphor around which the entire poem revolves. The next few lines also use similar terminology related to theatre. The word "All" in the first line establishes universality and we are told that men everywhere go through the same phases of life. The next line "...Just like actors, men and women in this world are not free to do as they will and are directed and controlled by their destiny. And just like actors in a play, the people make their appearances and go away i.e.
He swears a lot as in the line "full of strange oaths" and has a beard like that of the "pard". Always craving attention, the soldier becomes jealous really quickly when it comes to honor and his frustrated character , a typicality in soldiers , builds in him an aggressive nature out of which he ends up in quarrels frequently as in the line "...sudden and quick in quarrels". The soldier seeks to become known and a "somebody" and can and will do anything to earn a reputation for himself, a reputation which the pessimistic Jacques describes as "the bubble reputation". By this he means that a soldier will go a long way to earn and will do anything for a reputation that may not even last for a long time as there are many other behind them with the same aim. But even for this short lived reputation the soldiers strive in the midst of heated battles as in the line "Even in the canons mouth".
(His hose is as wide as the world.) He now wears loose clothing so that he feels comfortable. The next stage is the stage just before death when the man becomes totally dependant and is exactly like a child. Jacques ironically calls it "second childishness". He has no eyes, nose etc. Here Jacques uses irony to express the fact that after having lived his entire life and learning and experiencing so much, the man is exactly where he was right in the beginning. Structure and tone: the tone in ironic and pessimistic. The poem which strongly revolves around the central metaphor introduced in the first line has no rhyme scheme but gets its beat from the alliterations and assonances present e.g. "plays many parts" and "mewling and puking". The word all establishes universality and its repetition in the second line also achieves emphasis. The poem which describes man in seven different stages gives the physical as well as the behavioral description for each stage. The poem has two similes as in: "creeping like snail" and the ridiculous simile "sighing like furnace" and has irony as in "even in the canons mouth".
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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
There is some good analysis of language in this essay and a clear understanding of the words is shown. It is important to analyse a text at word, sentence and text level and at times the ideas aren't considered within the context of the speech.
Further links could be made to the contemporary relevance of this speech too.
Marked by teacher Laura Gater 13/05/2013
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