About the author :-
1. William Shakespeare was born on 26 April, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England.
2. He was an English poet, playwright, and an actor.
3. He was regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist.
4. Some of his works consists of 39 plays, 154 sonnets and 2 long narrative poems.
5. He died on 23 April 1616.
About the poem :-
In this poem William Shakespeare has compared this entire world to a stage on which acts of drama are performed. He has compared the people of this world to the actors of drama. Just like the actors who once finish performing their respective acts, have to quit, all the people of this world eventually die after going through 7 stages of their lives.
The first stage of a man’s life is of an infant. This is the phase of the human’s life in which he takes birth. Once he come out of his mother’s womb, he is in the arms of a nurse. He cries a lot and pukes in her arms.
The second stage of a man’s life is of a whining school boy. In this stage his parents decide to send him to school so that he starts his studies. The boy is very unwilling to go to school but his parents still force him to go there. He cries while going on his way to school. He is going very slowly. Writer has used a simile ‘ creeping like snail ‘ to express how slow he’s walking.
The third stage of a man’s life is of a lover boy. In this stage the boys finally begins to love some girl or woman. Say if the boy proposes the girl and she denies his proposal or he gets rejected, or say even if girl accepts his proposal and her parents forbid him from meeting her then the boy becomes really depressed. The suffering of separation causes him tremendous pain. He keeps remembering his beloved and writes an entire sad song thinking of her.
The fourth stage of a man’s life is of a soldier. Here, the word ‘soldier’ doesn’t necessarily means the soldier who fights on the border and protects his nation. It means that the man has finally become somebody who fights in order to defend what’s precious to him. It can be his pride, his loved ones, the ones whom he loves, the ones who respect him and the ones whom he respects. In this stage the man starts seeing big dreams and starts taking strange oaths in order to make them come true. He starts to grow beards which is the sign of his manliness. He becomes very intolerable and very quick to pick up fights with others to protect or maintain his reputation even when he is cornered.
The fifth stage of a man’s life is that of a judge. Here, the word ‘judge’ does not necessarily means the judge of the court. It means that the man has finally become wise and knowledgable and has a really good ability to tell what is right and what is wrong. He is middle-aged, looks healthy and has seriousness in his eyes. He has seen or been in a lot of difficult situations. He shares is experiences and tells other what to do and what not to do.
The sixth stage of a man’s life is that of an old man. In this stage, the middle-aged healthy man turns into lean and thin old man. His manly voice becomes childish and when he speaks, slightly whistling sound comes out. He feels insecure so he keeps most of his things very close to him.
The final stage of a man’s life is that of second childishness of the old man. The writer has termed this stage ‘mere oblivion’ which means that the old man is in the state in which he has no idea of what’s going on around him. All his teeth are gone. He has lost his eyesight so he can’t see well. He can’t taste food. In this stage the man has lost everything or everyone he had. Basically writer wants to say that some of the people who the old man loved in past are dead and rest of them have turned their backs against the old man. So he’s left with nothing and is waiting for his death.