What are some examples of repetition in the monologue "Seven Ages of Man" from Shakespeare's As You Like It?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jacques's monologue from As You Like It is an example of dramatic poetry, and as such, repetition of words and ideas is employed for emphasis and to intensify effect.

Here are some examples of this repetition:

  • Words: plays, player

Jacques uses the forms of the word play in order to emphasize and remind his listeners that he is using the extended metaphor of people's being actors on the stage of life.

First, he states that "all the men and women [are] merely players" (line 2) and each man in his life "plays (line  4) many parts." Then, after Jacques describes these various parts which are the stages of life, he concludes, "And so he plays (line 19) his part." 

  • Words: part, parts

Jacques refers to people as actors on the stage of life, who assume different roles, or "parts," as he calls them, during the various phases of their lives.

He contends that in his lifetime, each man plays many "parts (line 4)." 

Then, after describing five of the roles/parts of man, Jacques makes a summation: "And so he plays his part" (line 19).

  • Words: age(s)

Jacques describes people's roles in life as "seven ages" (line 5). Later, he again uses the word as he mentions the "sixth age" (line 19)

  • Ideas: The idea of man's assuming different roles throughout his life is repeated with the descriptions of these roles and with the ideas introduced by such words as acts, age, scene

Jacques states that man is involved the "acts" of seven ages (line 5), and he describes these various ages and the roles played as though they are scenes on a stage. He concludes, "Last scene of all..." (line 25). 

Read the study guide:
As You Like It

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