How does William Shakespeare's As You Like It in Act II, Scene 7 relate to Erik Erikson's eight stages of development?
Act II, Scene 7 of As You Like It involves Duke Senior, Jaques, Orlando, and Adam. Duke Senior represents wisdom and looks back in contentment at his accomplishments. Jaques represents seeking to find a meaningful avenue of contribution for one's life. Orlando represents doing everything for love, whether the love of a fair lady or the love of a trusted and valued old family friend. Adam shares wisdom with Duke Senior but Adam has reached the point where he is dependent on others for help, as is revealed when Orlando storms into Duke Senior's camp.
Erik Erickson divided the life cycle into eight stages. The first five stages relate to the challenging time of maturing in body, mind, and spirituality as language and activities are learned, relationships are developed, education is gotten, and a perception of the complexities of life establishes the foundation for knowledge of life. The last three stages are the three experienced in adulthood. First, there is young adulthood (18-35) in which love governs all. Individuals of all social and economic levels want to find a person with whom to exchange deep and meaningful love. This is the stage Orlando is in.
The next stage, the seventh stage, is middle adulthood (35 - 55/65). Love may have been found. Careers and families may have been established. Directions have been chosen or thrust upon us as we've had the knowledge to make good decisions or lacked knowledge, understanding and guidance and made bad decisions. In middle-adulthood the overriding desire is to make a valuable contribution to something worthwhile and to feel like you've got a meaning in being alivebthat you can honor (hopefully, you don't have to do too much damage repair from bad decisions in young adulthood).
Late adulthood is the final stage (55/65 to Death). This stage is marked by wisdom, by enjoying one's accomplishments and the fruits of one's efforts with family and career (hopefully there is nothing to be in despair or bitter about from mistakes that couldn't be remedied). This is the stage Duke Senior is in which is especially evident when he watches his daughter arrange her wedding and the others at the end of the play. Shakespeare divides Erikson's eight stage into two parts. Adam represents the last third of the stage of late adulthood, the part that is ready to face death. He is old and weakens to the point of being on the threshold of death easily; he needs someone to advocate for him and to deliver and help him.