The man in the poem goes through these stages: 1. Infancy: In this stage he is a helpless baby and knows little. 2. Childhood: It is that stage of life that he begins to go to school. He is unwilling to leave the protected environment of his home as he is still not confident enough to exercise his own discretion. 3. The lover: In this stage he is always remorseful due to some reason or other, especially the loss of love. He tries to express feelings through song or some other cultural activity.
4. The soldier: It is in this age that he thinks less of himself nd begins to think more of others. He is very easily aroused and is hot headed. He is always working towards making a reputation for himself and gaining recognition, however short-lived it may be, even at the cost of his own life. 5. The Justice: In this stage he has acquired wisdom through the many experiences he has had in life. He has reached a stage where he has gained prosperity and social status. He becomes very attentive of his looks and begins to enjoy the finer things of life. 6. Old Age: He begins to lose his charm ” both physical and mental. He begins to become the butt of others’ Jokes. He loses his firmness and assertiveness, and shrinks in stature and personality.
7. Extreme old age: He loses his status and he becomes a non-entity. He becomes dependent on others. – Summary Shakespeare compares the world with a stage in a theatre and men and women with the players on that stage. Like the stage in the theatre, life too has its entrances and exits. A man plays his role through the seven ages of life. The first role/age is that of an infant. He cries and whines and vomits in the hands of his nurse.
In the second tage of life, man plays the role of a little child. He carries a small schoolbag with him and has a shiny face, walking as slowly as possible because of his dislike of school. In the third stage of life, man plays the role of a lover. He falls in love passionately and sings a sad ballad about love, praising the beauty of his lover’s eyebrows. In the fourth stage of life, man plays the role of a soldier. He is full of strange oaths, bearded, and strives for honour, recognition and reputation, even faced with a cannon. In the fifth stage of life, man plays the role of a Justice. He is well fed and has a fat belly.
He is full of wise sayings. He uses his experience, wisdom and knowledge in the dispensation of Justice. In the sixth stage of life, man becomes weak and fragile. He wears baggy clothes and his deep manly voice becomes high-pitched and whistly. Man’s last stage is that of extreme old age. This stage is compared to second childhood. He loses control over his senses and becomes dependent on others Just like a child. He becomes a victim of forgetfulness and loses his teeth, eyesight, hearing, etc. and then, he passes away.