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Explain the opening phrase "All the world`s stage; And all the men and women merely...

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kharsa | Student | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted February 22, 2010 at 11:49 PM via web

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Explain the opening phrase "All the world`s stage; And all the men and women merely players" in the poem "The Seven stages of a man".

"The seven stages of a man" by William Shakespeare

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 22, 2010 at 11:52 PM (Answer #1)

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To me, what Shakespeare is saying in this very famous line is that we all are not that important and we are not permanent features of the world.  This makes sense given what the poem is about.  The poem is talking about how people go through various stages of life and eventually become nothing.

By saying that we are all just actors, Shakespeare is emphasizing that we ourselves change over time, playing first one role and then another.

So the major idea here is that, even though we think we are important and permanent, we are not.

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anthonda49 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted February 23, 2010 at 12:09 AM (Answer #2)

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Life is like a drama enacted on a stage. It is not real except to those directly involved. Mostly an "audience" watches us play out our lives interacting with family, co-workers, and friends. When our "run" is done, we die and the play ends. People are like actors in that they assume a persona to fit with each person we meet. We certainly don't act the same way with a lover as we do with our boss (at least I hope not!). Life is full of plot complications that grow to a natural (or unnatural in the case of crime) end.

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jannats-singh | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 23, 2010 at 12:07 AM (Answer #3)

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'All the worlds a stage, and all the men and women merely players' : Here, the poet likens a mans' life to that of a play set up in theater. He says that each mans' finite life is nothing but an act, and as the man progresses in his life, the scenes and acts each shift accordingly.
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dnguha | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted February 24, 2010 at 3:30 PM (Answer #4)

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According to Shakespeare, "all the world is a stage" where all the men and women perform their own acts. Every person is only a mere player, enacting the vested roles, as imposed by the Supreme Director. The stage has its entrance( birth) and exit( death).

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