Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An Analysis on William Shakespeare’s Poem All the World is Stage

I. The Poem of All the World is Stage

All the World is Stage is the poem taken from William Shakespeare’s play entitled As You like It. The character who says those beautiful words known as Jacques, the melancholy man who wants to compare the world to a stage and life to a play, and catalogues the seven stages of a man's life, sometimes referred to as the seven ages of man: infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, pantaloon, and second childhood.
All the World is Stage is the most frequently-quoted phrases, because it has a deep meaning of life, it is made in sonnet form with twenty eight lines. All the World is Stage is considered as the most favorite passage that is quoted by people all over the world.
William Shakespeare never publishes his works, it makes the manuscript of his works is difficult to find, and even the date of the making process. It is believed that As You like It. it was first performed between 1599 and 1600. And it was printed in 1623.
To make the reader more understand the poem of William Shakespeare entitled All the World is Stage which is taken from his famous play entitled As You like It, to the best my knowledge; it needs to know slightly about the story of the play. Here below is written the summary of the story:

As You like It is considered by many to be one of Shakespeare's greatest comedies, and the heroine, Rosalind, is praised as one of his most inspiring characters and has more lines than any of Shakespeare's female characters. Rosalind, the daughter of a banished duke falls in love with Orlando the disinherited son of one of the duke's friends. When she is banished from the court by her usurping uncle, Duke Frederick, Rosalind switches genders and as Ganymede travels with her loyal cousin Celia and the jester Touchstone to the Forest of Arden, where her father and his friends live in exile. Observations on life and love follow (including love, aging, the natural world, and death) friends are made, and families are reunited. By the play's end Ganymede, once again Rosalind marries her Orlando. Two other sets of lovers are also wed, one of them Celia and Orlando's mean older brother Oliver, As Oliver becomes a gentler, kinder young man so the Duke conveniently changes his ways and turns to religion and so that the exiled Duke, father of Rosalind, can rule once again.

After knowing the story where the poem is taken, then we begin to recognize the poem itself. Here is All the World is Stage taken from William Shakespeare’s play entitled As You like It:






All the World is Stage

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

— Jacques (Act II, Scene VII, lines 139-166)
















II. An Internal Analysis on the poem All the World is Stage

An internal analysis on the poem All the World is Stage is involved poetic devices which arrange the word to such of meaningful phrases. The poetic devices found in the poem All the World is Stage is written below:

POETIC DEVICES ANALYZED THE PHRASES THE EXPLANATION
1. Analogy: the comparison of two things by explaining one to show how it is similar to the other.
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
The word “World” is compared with “Stage” where “All the men and women” are compared with “Players”

2. Caesura: the pausing or stopping within a line of poetry caused by needed punctuation.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
The punctuation of commas (,) are used to pause the phrase in order to strengthen the meaning and to ease the reader get the meaning of it.

3. Imagery: Imagery involves one or more of your five senses (hearing, taste, touch, smell, sight).
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, (line 17)
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;(line 21)
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice (line 23)
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all (line 25)
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."(line 28)

An author uses those words or phrases to stimulate your memory of those senses. These memories can be positive or negative which will contribute to the mood of your poem
4. Oxymoron: the use of contradictory terms (together) for effect. And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances; The word “Men” contradicts to “Women” and also the word “Exit” contradict to “Entrance”.
5. Simile: the comparison of two unlike things by saying one is like or as the other
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
It simile the passion of men in their romance age with the “furnace” (Sighing like furnace)
6. Free verse: a poem without either a rhyme or a rhythm scheme, although rhyme may be used, just without a pattern.
All of the Poem The pattern of the poem is unstructured, there are no rhyme scheme as it is found in the other classic poem.
7. Theme: The central idea, topic, or didactic quality of a work.

All The World is Stage The central idea of the poem is about life and it comparison to the stage. The stage is the analogy of life with men and women as the players.

8. Sonnet: a fourteen line poem in iambic pentameter with a prescribed rhyme scheme; its subject was traditionally love. Three variations are found frequently in English, although others are occasionally seen.

All of the Poem The poem is contained fourteen lines in iambic pentameter.
It contains 28 lines.
9. Point of View: The author’s point of view concentrates on the vantage point of the speaker, or “teller” of the story or poem. This may be considered the poem’s “voice” — the pervasive presence behind the overall work. This is also sometimes referred to as the persona.
• 1st Person: the speaker is a character in the story or poem and tells it from his/her perspective (uses “I”).
• 3rd Person limited: the speaker is not part of the story, but tells about the other characters through the limited perceptions of one other person.
• 3rd Person omniscient: the speaker is not part of the story, but is able to “know” and describe what all characters are thinking.

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. In the All the World is Stage, the point of view used is 3rd person omniscient. The poet runs his function as the narrator and determiner at the same time. He describes and explains his characters obviously. As it is seen in line 5 through the last line, that tells about the ages of men and the process of it.





III. An External Analysis on the poem All the World is Stage

External factors which build the literary works have close relation to the age when it was made. The social milieu such as culture, custom, the experience of the writer, politic and economy situation play big role to the creation of literary works, and also poem.

In order to know the external factors which influence the poem, we should back to the certain age and the range of related age. We also need to learn the life of the author in order to know his creative writing process in making the poem, and another factor which influence him such as his reading, his study, his environment, and others.

ARCHETYPAL ANALYSIS

In analyzing this poem, the writer use Archetypal Approach related to the Greek mythology which is explaining about the seven ages of man.
Archetype means "original pattern or meaning". The Archetypal Approach aims to discover and demonstrate the basic cultural pattern or common heritage of mankind in a work of art.
The fire of archetypal criticism was Carl Gustav Jung's The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Archetypal Criticism, which owes its origins to the work of Carl Jung, emerged in the 1930s and focuses on those patterns in a literary work that commonly occur in other literary works. Jung posited that humanity has a "collective unconscious that manifests itself in dreams, myths, and literature through archetypes: persistent images, figures, and story patterns shared by people across diverse cultures". Archetypal critics search for archetypal patterns in literary works (e.g.,
character types, story lines, settings, symbols). According to Jung, these
patterns are embedded deep in the "collective unconscious" and involve
"racial memories" of situations, events, relationships from time immemorial. This work posits that there is a deeper layer which is not a personal acquisition, but is inborn. He calls this layer as the "collective unconscious" as the images and symbols ingrained here are universal or common to a particular race. It is because of this "racial memory" we find similar motifs of themes among different mythologies.
In short, myth criticism or archetypal criticism refers to the "practice of enunciating and critiquing the relation between myth and literature”. This is also known as totemic or ritualistic criticism.
Archetypal critics make the reasonable assumption that human beings all over the world have basic experiences in common and have developed similar stories and symbols to express these experiences. Their assumption that myths from distant countries might help to explain a work of literature might seem a little far-fetched.




BASIC PREMISES OF ARCHETYPAL THEORY:

1. The critic is at the center of interpretive activity, and the critic
functions as teacher, interpreter, priest, seer. Criticism is a structure
of thought and knowledge in its own right.
2. The critic works inductively by reading individual works and letting
critical principles shape them out of the literature; that is, the
critic examines the individual work to ascertain the archetypes underlying
the work.
3. Literary taste is not relevant to literary criticism.
4. Ethical criticism is important; that is, the critic must be aware of
art as a form of communication from the past to the present.
5. All literary works are considered part of tradition.
6. Like mathematics, literature is a language that can provide the means
for expressing truths. Verbal constructs (i.e., the works of literature)
represent mythical outlines of universal truths.

GREEK MYTHOLOGY

Greek mythology comprises the collected legends of Greek gods and goddesses and ancient heroes and heroines, originally created and spread within an oral-poetic tradition, In their various legends, stories and hymns the gods of ancient Greece are nearly all described as human in appearance, unaging, nearly immune to all wounds and sickness, capable of becoming invisible, able to travel vast distances almost instantly, and able to speak through human beings with or without their knowledge. Each has his or her own specific appearance, genaeology, interests, personality, and area of expertise; however, these descriptions do have local variants that do not always agree with the descriptions used in other parts of the Greek-speaking world of the time. The poem contains mythological references in particular to Eden, to Hercules and to Christ.
It contains arresting imagery and figures of speech to develop the central metaphor: a person's lifespan being a play in seven acts. These acts, "seven ages," begin with "the infant or Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms" and work through six further vivid verbal sketches, culminating in "second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

Further explanation will be explained in the analysis below.












AN ANALYSIS ON THE EXTERNAL ASPECTS RELATED TO THE SEVEN AGES OF MAN

No PHRASES EXPLANATION
1 At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
Infancy: In this stage he is a baby

2 And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. Childhood: It is in this stage that he begins to go to school. He is reluctant to leave the protected environment of his home as he is still not confident enough to exercise his own discretion.

3 And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth The lover: In this stage he is always remorseful due to some reason or other, especially the loss of love. He tries to express feelings through song or some other cultural activity
4 Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth The soldier: It is in this age that he thinks less of himself and begins to think more of others. He is very easily aroused and is hot headed. He is always working towards making a reputation for himself and gaining recognition, however short-lived it may be, even at the cost of his own life.

5 And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The justice: In this stage he has acquired wisdom through the many experiences he has had in life. He has reached a stage where he has gained prosperity and social status. He becomes very attentive of his looks and begins to enjoy the finer things of life
6 The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound Old age: He begins to lose his charm — both physical and mental. He begins to become the brunt of others' jokes. He loses his firmness and assertiveness, and shrinks in stature and personality.

7 Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything Mental dementia and death: He loses his status and he becomes a non-entity. He becomes dependent on others like a child and is in need of constant support before finally dying.






































REFERENCES

http://knol.google.com/k/kolammal-shankar/archetypal-approach-in-literary/zia3csj8plbo/1#
http://www.intech.mnsu.edu/bunkers/archetypal_theory.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_You_Like_It
http://www.greece-museums.com/greek-mythology.php
http://www.bintmagazine.com/bint_stories/500.php?story_id=475

2 comments:

  1. wonder analysis: brings a lot of perspective and insight. Thanks a ton!
    Wishing you best of health and happiness

    Arvind

    ReplyDelete
  2. An appreciable analysis and explanation. Beholden!!

    ReplyDelete