Speech: “All the world’s a stage”

BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE(from As You Like It, spoken by Jaques)
                                        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;
And then the whining school-boy, 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 honour, 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 lin’d,
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 slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav’d, 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.

The above passage might be my very favorite Shakespeare. I love how he breaks down the stages of life. Pretty accurately I think.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the five stages of womanhood- (I only wrote five because I’ve yet to reach the others) I think that each decade adds new dimensions and layers to our lives, we learn and grow: adapt and change.

I highlighted the words that were most descriptive for Shakespeare as he broke down the ages. I used computer speak naming then 1.0, 2.0 etc.

What do you think the stages of life are?

How would you name them?

40 thoughts on “The Stages

  1. For me it was
    1. Childhood – ended the day my dad died one week after my 18th birthday
    2. Adult on my own – from that day until I was married 5 years later
    3. Married without kids
    4. Parent of minor children
    5. Empty nester

    Still figuring out my next stage

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Accurate indeed. I find myself with the lingering “justice” but also slowly migrating into “lean and slipper’d…” 🙂 That final level paints a pretty dire picture doesn’t it, but I see the truth in his words as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What fascinates me is how we retain an age throughout our lives, at least for a while. The way we learn to react or emotionally absorb situations or to immaturely form opinions seem to stay with us for a long time into adulthood. Some never deviate while others get wiser.

    Our physical bodies, on the other hand, follow Shakespeare.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, a fun question, LA. Different answer today, then it would have been a few years ago. Here’s what I get today.

    Repeat as necessary….

    Writing to yesterday’s post, if we are open, as you write, at each stage of life there is an opportunity to learn, adapt, iterate ourselves, and then welcome change with open arms, and do it again, and again, and….that is how it feels and thinks to me today.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m in the stage of reversal. I’ve had one cataract removed and will have the other eye done. I’ll see better than I did 75 years ago. Hearing aids are next. Add to taste, we have the Sriracha sauce on the table.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, The Bard could certainly romance the boards, but our current stage is, but at best, a gone to seed back-lot, or at worse, a dumbed-down digital CGI of humans, so what,(?).. into a Sho’nuff of other worldly soap opera.

    As our own story on earth has become so alien, as to have no plot possibility for a satisfactory or self-evolving denouement.

    We’ve become even less than bit players. Our role is the extra whose only task is to look away from camera. Hence the selfie. And the rush to Social Media. And the monetization of individual human agency.

    And a lot of those stages of life Shakespeare sang about will be sidelined, or diminished for the many, as the simple sins of being young and dumb will be digital harvested and ready for an instant replay, next week, or decades later. Keep that in mind, Mom and Dad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To parallel your statement, sort of….you know how Juvie records are sealed, because when you’re young you can do stupid things but immaturity comes into play? Well, now, it seems like all the Juvenilia comes back to haunt the millennial and Z generation…should we allow for mistakes of youth?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Childhood, teenage, married no kids, married with children to the current empty nest. On a side note, I no longer see your posts daily under reader. I wonder why? But I look you up on my own.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Child till you graduate always in care of your loved one , rat (used it because of term rat race) you keep hunkring after work and success, not that it’s a bad thing, till you find your other half, love turn you human, and then with children all the above

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Love, love, love. The stages for me in this life are the following:
    1. Childhood- when we first discover who we are and who others are and how fascinating things are.
    2. Teen/College Age- separated more from parental influence and learning to think for ourselves.
    3.Marriage/Partnership- Growing WITH someone and learning to share experiences more and with children, learning to see life through their eyes too.
    4. Empty Nest- Bitter sweet and somewhat sad. But rediscovering who we are and realizing that this isn’t the downward slope. Getting through the “is this all there is”? portion of life.
    5. Midlife Rejuvenation-Lots of changes. Some good, some bad but I have seen so much of people trying on new careers and starting to enjoy being “older”
    6. The decline- where you feel like everyone is dying around you. Losing great friends and panicking that you might be alone in this last chapter of life. And starting to feel the effects of again with memory loss, frustration etc. Hard stage here.
    Ok I just wrote a freaking blog post on your page. lol Sorry!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for quoting the complete passage from ‘As You Like It’…………I think about Shakespeare’s ‘All the World’s a Stage’ ALL of the time, I shan’t explain the reasons why because I commented you that other week 😀 , enough to say we are all players in our own little world and that fascinates me right down to a naïve (?) pretty virginal Princess and Machiavellian villain! (I need to get out more)

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The stage of life called Integrity and Despair by Erikson, starts at age 65.
    Then, we look back on our life choices. In Integrity, we experience happiness, satisfaction, and ‘wisdom’

    In Despair, we experience bitterness, regret, or sadness.
    In layperson’s terms, old people become ‘sweet , or ‘sour’.

    May we make careful choices at all of life’s stages, so that we become sweet old people. 🤗🌼⚘🌷

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m sort of in the lean and slippered pantaloon stage, apart from the “lean”.

    You could probably define the stages by reference to Shakespeare’s work – I’ve moved on from the Sonnets to Henry V and am now in a Macbeth stage –

    Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
    To the last syllable of recorded time;
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Some of the cancel culture folks want to cancel Shakespeare. I can’t imagine a world without Shakespeare and his timeless truths and beautiful language. Thank you for reminding me today of this passage.

    Liked by 2 people

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