Metaphors In William Shakespeare's The Seven Ages Of Man

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“The Seven Ages of Man” by William Shakespeare is an extended metaphor comparing life to a play. The poem begins by stating that humans are actors in the play that is life, and that they will exit as they had entered. It is a harsh affirmation that introduces the speaker’s cynical ideal that one’s time on earth is fleeting. It then divides one’s life into seven stages. First, the stage of the infant is explained using words such as mewling and puking. His word choice suggests that he looks down on children as they are can only cry in the shelter of adults. Correspondingly, his descriptions of the school-boy also reflect his attitude towards children. The boy whines and like a snail gets ready for school. His reluctance to leave indicates immaturity. …show more content…
He is so enamored that when separated from his beloved he sighs like a furnace. This means his sighs are hot due to the excruciating pain of not being together. Also, reliance on his partner is another repercussion of his endearment is his folly. He is so infatuated that he begins to act like a fool and even creates an ode to the eyebrow of his beloved. He then moves onto the stage of the soldier, where he has become a man. This transition is shown through his growing beard- a characteristic of an adult. Despite his increasing maturity, he is still only gaining experience and is far from wise. His recklessness and vanity prove that he is still foolish as he was before, but now with more authority. In an attempt to make a name for himself he acts out and gets into disagreements to define himself to others. He is seeking a bubble reputation; something others see for a moment until it is no longer relevant. Yet, because of his ignorance he is not capable of seeing through that and still desires to make a name for himself. He finally obtains wisdom when he is in the age of justice; at this point his life becomes …show more content…
Additionally, his manhood is displayed by how he is no longer ignorant and has a grasp on current affairs. Next he reaches the shriveled age; he isn't as active as he was when young but he carries the wisdom he has acquired. Although, he is far more knowledgeable than a child he is as restricted as one. Shakespeare writes that his voice is docile; like a child’s. The alliteration, “shrunk shank” (Shakespeare) describes his shrinking body. He is no longer able to wear the pants from his youth and must wear pantaloons. Due to his weakened body he is no longer able to provide for himself and must keep his money near him in a pouch. Finally, the man enters the last scene; the end. Shakespeare refers to this stage as a second childhood and in doing so connects the end back to the first phase. In this beginning period, the man is not a man but a child and is incapable of handling himself so must rely on others. Similarly, the man cannot do much on his own now and is reliant on others, like a child. The fact that he is useless in this age is emphasized by the repetition of ‘sans’. He is without teeth, eyes, taste, and everything else; as he puts it he is in

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