It is believed that William Shakespeare wrote the play As You Like It in 1599. It is a pastoral comedy that was first published in the First Folio (1623). The story of the play is mainly centred around Rosalind. She flees persecution in the court of her uncle.
Celia, her cousin, also goes (flees) with him to the Forest of Arden. The two sisters meet or encounter a variety of memorable characters there such as Orlando (Rosalind’s love), and most importantly Jaques – the melancholy traveller.
Shakespeare’s description of The Seven Stages of Human Life in As You Like It
It is the melancholy character Jaques in William Shakespeare’s Play As You Like It who utters the most well-known/renowned speeches of the playwright; like:
- Too much of a good thing
- All the world’s a stage
- A fool! A fool! I met a fool in the forest
Jaques’ speech in Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage ” in As You Like It (Act II, Scene VII) describes the seven stages of man. The melancholy character of the play repeats the aforementioned allusion. Here, men as well as women are nothing but just actors.
The men/women are born to play their part in various stages of life which culminate in their death. Similar to the 7 seven acts of a play, these stages are seven in number as well.
- Infancy is the first stage. In this stage, a person not just cries but also slobbers in his/her nurse’s arm
- The second stage is the schoolboy. A person grows into boyhood. He, as a grumbling schoolboy, reluctantly trudges along to school with his bag of books hanging from his shoulder. Moreover, his face shines from the morning wash as well
- Jaques introduces youth as the next stage. It is a description of a(ny) man’s (a) Falling in Love (b) Sighing similar to a furnace, as well as (c) Composing Verses in Praise of the Beauty of Beloved
- Advanced youth is the fourth one. Here, the man is a soldier uttering strange oaths. He has a rough beard like the leopard’s beard. He is so sensitive about his reputation that he is prone to pick up a fight (easily) for defending/saving his honour. Not only this, he is also ready to: (a) Risk his Life, as well as (b) Face his Opponent/rival’s cannons in a vain/useless attempt in order to save it, just to realise that reputation, as well as honour, are transient like a bubble
- The fifth stage is manhood. Now, he is a justice of the peace. He has a fine round stomach filled with the best meat of capon offered/given as a bribe. The man features stern looks for passing off as an honest person. Contrary to the shabby beard of a soldier, he (now) has a neatly trimmed beard
- Advanced manhood comes as the next stage. He becomes lean as well as thin in this stage. He is seen wearing spectacles on his nose as well as a pouch for his side. The man even now wears the old breeches of his younger days – unfit (too big) for his withered leg. As far as his voice is concerned; there is a change in it – it has changed to a child’s high-pitched voice. Moreover, it makes a weak, speaking sound at the time of his walking
- Dotage and Death are the seventh and final stage of human life. In this stage, a man loses his memory. He neither has teeth nor eyesight. Actually, this person is without taste as well as even without anything as well
Ques: Who is Duke Fredrick in As You Like It?
Ans: Duke Frederick is the younger brother of Duke Senior in William Shakespeare’s drama As You Like It. He is the father of Celia as.
Ques: Who disguises as Ganymede ?
Ans: It is Rosalind who disguises as Ganymede in the play As You Like It.
Ques: Who is Audrey?
Ans: Audrey is a country girl in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It.