All the World’s a Stage Poem, Summary, Appreciation

All the World’s a Stage – The Poem by William Shakespeare

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely Players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His Acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a 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. And then 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. The sixth age shifts
Into 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. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Word Meanings

Puking: vomiting
satchel: bag
woeful: sad
Ballad: poem or song
Cannon: Huge gun like weapon that throws / shoots iron balls
pard: leopard
capon: chicken (specially bred for meat)
saws: sayings
shank: legs
treble – High pitched
oblivion : being unaware of whats happening around
sans: without

All the world’s a stage line by line explanation

All the world’s a stage,
This world is a theater, where drama and plays are acted out

And all the men and women merely Players;
Everyone is just acting on the stage of the world. People are just playing their part.

They have their exits and their entrances,
Like stage actors they come on the stage and leave

And one man in his time plays many parts,
When on stage a man has to play many roles

His Acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
He has seven different roles to play. The first is a new born child

Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Crying and vomiting in the arms of a nurse. A child who cannot even take care of himself.

Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
The he goes to school crying and complaining while carrying a bag

And shining morning face, creeping like snail
His face is washed and fresh but his speed and pace is slow

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
because he doesn’t want to go to school, but he is forced to do so. Then he is young and becomes interested in a girl

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
His body is full of burning desire and his mind in deep thought of his love. He can write poetry for the girl he loves.

Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
He is thinking about his girl all the time and every aspect of her seems beautiful. Then he becomes a soldier

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
His beliefs become strong and he looks like a determined leopard (pard) ready to fight anyone. His beard unkempt and uncombed like an animal.

Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
He becomes egoistic. He cannot take any insult and is ready to fight to show his strength anytime. He becomes angry quickly.

Seeking the bubble reputation
He wants to build a reputation which according to the poet doesn’t last long like a bubble. He wants people to know him in a certain way.

Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
He will put himself in harm’s way just to guard his reputation. Then he expects to be treated justly and wants to treat others justly. He becomes the judge

In fair round belly with good capon lined,
Here he has become fat by eating chicken and his belly can be seen now

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
His eyesight is now failing and he starts taking care of the way he looks. His beard is now trimmed and combed properly,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;
He is now full of knowledgeable sayings, witty, and has many modern examples to give;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Now he is part of society, doing what is required of him. The sixth age or act now shifts

Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
It shifts to the man who is now thin and wearing loose clothing and slippers,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His eyesight has become very weak and he needs spectacles or glasses to see. He carries a bag with him;

His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
His pants that he used to wear when young, he used to use wear sparingly, now fits him very loosely

For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
because he legs have become very thin, and his gruff voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
has become shrill and low again like that of a child. It sounds like a pipe

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
and a whistle. In the last scene on the stage

That ends this strange eventful history,
That ends the story of this young man,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
he has become child like once again. Someone who is unaware of his surroundings and needs to be taken care of

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
He has very little teeth, his eye sight is poor, he cannot taste food. In fact he has lost most of his senses

Read Poetry explanation of Where the Mind is without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore

All the world’s a stage poem Questions and Answers 

Q. What does exits and entrances refer to?

A. In the poem exits and entrances refer to going out of one act and returning as another character. 

Q. Why is reputation like a bubble?

A. Reputation is compared to a bubble because it is temporary. It’s going to bust anytime and it will not remain permanent.

Q. What is the major difference between the 5th and 6th stage?

A. The  difference between the fifth and sixth stage is that in the 5th stage man is well fed with chicken is wise and has a manly voice and does his work on time and the sixth stage is dependent on others as he has a weak eyesight, is thin lean and weak. 

All the world’s a stage Appreciation

The poem ‘All the world’s a stage’ is a popular poem written by William Shakespeare. It’s also known as ‘The seven ages of man’. There is no rhyming scheme in the poem. life is compared to stage and everyone as players actors who play their roles we enter the play when we are born and exit when we die and between that we have seven stages to play they are infancy, childhood, teenage, youth, middle age, old age and dotage 

All the world’s a stage poem summary

The poet talks of life like acting on a stage and everyone has to do his or her part before leaving the stage permanently. The actors come and go seven times and each time they play a different part. This is a story of a man. The first act is that of infant who cries and vomits in the nurse’s arm. The second is a school student who doesn’t want to go to school. The third is a young man who is in love and writes poetry for his beloved. The fourth act is that of a soldier who is compared to Leopard. He is ferocious, jealous when others are honored and is always quick to start quarreling or fight for small reasons. In the fifth stage he becomes an experienced person who is very well fed and gives examples from his experience and is quick witted. The Sixth Age is when the man starts wearing his old clothes that have now become very loose for him. His eyesight he become very weak, he has lost most of his teeth and that’s why when he speaks it appears as if playing a pipe or as if he is whistling. He is now completely dependent on others who just like a child is unaware of what’s happening around him. That’s why this stage is also called as second childishness. Then he leaves the stage for the last time, which means he dies

All the world’s a stage 7 stages

  1. Child
  2. School student
  3. Young lover (teenager)
  4. Young ambitious man
  5. Middle aged experienced – judging everything
  6. Old and frail
  7. Very old and childlike

Figures of speech in the All the world’s a stage

All the world’s a stage figure of speech

Men and women merely players
The above figure of speech is metaphor because men and women are indirectly compared to players

The whining school boy with his satchel and shining morning face creeping like snail
The above figure of speech is simile because the schoolboy is directly compared to the creeping snail

With a woeful ballad
The above figure of speech alliteration because a sound of w is repeated

Sighing like furnace
The above figure of speech is simile because sighing is compared to furnace

Full of strange oaths and beard like a pard
The above figure of speech simile where man is directly compared to a leopard

Seeking the bubble reputation
The figure of speech is Metaphor because reputation is compared to bubble

Jealous in honour sudden and quick and  quarrel
The figure of speech is alliteration because the sound of Q is repeated

Even in the cannon’s mouth
The above figure of speech is metaphor since danger is compared to a cannon’s mouth

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut
The above figure of speech is inversion it should be severe eyes but I eyes severe is used for poetic effect

His youthful hose well saved a worldwide
Figure of speech is alliteration the sound of w is used several times

For his shrunk Shank
The figure of speech is alliteration because the sound of ‘sh’ is used several times

And whistles in his sound
The figure of speech is onomatopoeia because the sound of the soul is compared to a person 

English Workshop

Read the words in a given clouds. Match them with what they signify

                Stage                                                               life

                 Characters                                                 Roles played by human beings

                 Script                                                              Story of life

                  Dialogues                                                     conversation

                  Entry                                                             Birth

                    Exit                                                               death