The Seven Stages of Man is a poem by William Shakespeare that describes the different stages of a man's life, from infancy to old age. The poem is often used as a metaphor for the different stages of life that all humans go through and the challenges and experiences that come with each stage. In this essay, I will provide a brief overview of each stage and discuss the themes and meanings that Shakespeare presents in the poem.
The first stage of man is infancy, which is described as "the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms." In this stage, the person is completely dependent on others for their care and survival. They are unable to communicate or take care of themselves, and must rely on the love and nurturing of others.
The second stage is childhood, which is characterized as "the whining schoolboy, with his satchel / And shining morning face, creeping like snail / Unwillingly to school." In this stage, the person is still young and inexperienced, but they are starting to learn and grow. They may still be reliant on others for their care, but they are beginning to explore the world and gain some independence.
The third stage is youth, which is depicted as "the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad / Made to his mistress' eyebrow." In this stage, the person is starting to come into their own and discover their passions and desires. They may be driven by love and romance, and are starting to form their own identity and sense of self.
The fourth stage is manhood, which is described as "the soldier, Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard, / Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel, / Seeking the bubble reputation / Even in the cannon's mouth." In this stage, the person is at their prime and is full of energy and ambition. They may be driven by a sense of duty and honor, and are willing to take risks and face challenges in order to achieve their goals.
The fifth stage is middle age, which is depicted as "the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lined, / With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, / Full of wise saws and modern instances; / And so he plays his part." In this stage, the person is starting to enter their later years and may be more settled and established in their career and personal life. They may be seen as wise and experienced, and may be called upon to dispense advice and guidance to others.
The sixth stage is old age, which is described as "the lean and slippered pantaloon, / With spectacles on nose and pouch on side, / His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide / For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice, / Turning again toward childish treble, pipes / And whistles in his sound." In this stage, the person is entering their final years and may be experiencing the effects of aging. They may have lost some of their physical and mental faculties and may be more reliant on others for their care.
The final stage is death, which is depicted as "second childishness and mere oblivion, / Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything." In this stage, the person has passed on from this life and is no longer present in the physical world. They are reduced to nothing but a memory, and all the experiences and accomplishments of their life are left behind.
Overall, Shakespeare's poem presents a poignant and thought-provoking look at the different stages of a man's life and the challenges and experiences that come with each stage. It highlights the universal nature of the human experience and the fact that we