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The True Meaning of the Seven Ages of a Man by William Shakespeare

Updated on February 11, 2015

The seven ages of man

Pictorial representation of an ancient belief of the seven ages of man
Pictorial representation of an ancient belief of the seven ages of man | Source

What Shakespeare meant

William Shakespeare is one of the greatest writers of plays and poems. One of the aspects that makes his works soo important is that fact that they all bear a life lesson expressed in rather plain words that are coined together so mastery to excite as well as teach. However, analysis have come to appreciate that Shakespeares work had a second meaning, a meaning that communicated the things he believes in. In the Poem, ‘The Seven Ages of a Man,’ which makes up Act II, Scene VII of the play As You Like it, Shakespeares uses heavy symbolism to communicate his belief. The poem has an external meaning that is apparent to all, which is the seven stages of man: the helpless infant, the whining schoolboy, the emotional lover, the devoted soldier, the wise judge, the clueless judge, and the corpse, which have come to be represented by the painting below. The poem also carries a deeper meaning carried by the symbolism in the description of the seven ages.

Many people thought that Shakespeare’s “The Seven Ages of Man” outline the seven classical planets. However, only few people know that the poem refers to the planets as placed in Shakespeare’s horoscope and not normal aging of a man. The puking infant in the play is the moon (Shakespeare, 15 Oct 2009). The nursing arms would be the Venus that is ruling the arms and the hands. As a result, the moon in Virgo square Venus means an apt description of an infant crying in the nurse's arms. Mercury gives the shining face as it rules the students and scholars. However, the mercury is a bit fast and moves over a given degree per day. However, it is separate from Venus, ruler of the third house in basic education; our school boy is eager to run away from the school. Mars in cancer is the soldier and cancer is the sign of mars fall and thus possess the worst martial qualities such as a quick temper, foolhardiness and foul mouth. The Jupiter is the justice giver. It has lately entered Leo and is exaltation in cancer. The cancer rules the stomach and justice are given in a quite resplendent feast. Lastly, the old man is Saturn. Saturn rules the old age. This is because Saturn is found in detriment in cancer and is very slow in motion; he is shrunk, weak and very withered heading to the corpse age.

In conclusion, the "The Seven Ages of a Man" by Shakespeare refers to the seven planets. However, the only question about the placement of Shakespeare's natal planet is whether he placed in the location of his natal moon which was either Virgo or Libra. However, based on the description of the moon given in the monologue in the "The Seven Ages of Man," most likely the location was in Virgo.


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      grishma 2 years ago

      Good infrmation but not that what i mean srry