All the World’s a Stage Summary, Explanation, Theme



Maharashtra State Board Class 10 English Poem All the World’s a Stage Summary, Line by Line Explanation, Theme, Poetic Devices along with difficult word meanings from English Kumarbharati Book


All the World’s a Stage – Are you looking for the summary, theme and poem explanation for Maharashtra State Board Class 10 Poem All the World’s a Stage from English Kumarbharati Book. Get poem summary, theme, explanation, poetic devices along with difficult word meanings.


All the World’s a Stage Class 10 English
(Maharashtra State Board)

By William Shakespeare



All the World’s a Stage Introduction

“All the world’s a stage” isn’t actually a poem, but a famous monologue from William Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It.” It’s spoken by a character named Jaques, known for his philosophical observations on life.

The poem says that everyone, men and women alike, are merely actors playing out their designated roles in a grand play. The poem then explores the concept of the seven ages of man, which defines life’s journey through various stages.




Theme / Central Idea of the Poem All the World’s a Stage

The themes explored in the poem “All the world’s a stage” are mentioned below- 


The Stages of Life:  Shakespeare outlines the “seven ages of man,” highlighting the different roles and characteristics we take on as we progress through life. This theme explores the universal experiences of growth, change, and decline.

Universality of the Human Experience:  Despite our individual differences, everyone plays a part on life’s stage.  The poem emphasizes the shared journey of humanity, from birth to death.

The Passage of Time and Mortality: Life is a temporary performance, with a beginning (entrance) and an end (exit).  The poem emphasizes the fleeting nature of our existence and the inevitability of death.




All the World’s a Stage Summary 

In the opening line, the poem compares the world to a theatrical stage and humans to actors playing out their designated roles in a grand play.

The poem expands on the metaphor by outlining the “seven ages of man,” a concept that divides life into different stages, each with its defining characteristics:


  • First Age: The Infant – Helpless and dependent, a crying baby in the arms of a caregiver.
  • Second Age: The Schoolboy – Unenthusiastic about learning but possessing a youthful innocence.
  • Third Age: The Lover – Consumed by passionate love, sighing and expressing devotion through poetry or music.
  • Fourth Age: The Soldier – Bold, seeking glory and recognition, even recklessly courageous.
  • Fifth Age: The Justice – Dignified and experienced, full of wisdom and pronouncements.
  • Sixth Age: The Pantaloon – A feeble old man clinging to remnants of youth, with failing eyesight and a voice that cracks.
  • Seventh Age: Second Childhood – Completely dependent and forgetful, marking the final stage of life before death.




All the World’s a Stage Summary in Hindi

कविता की शुरुआती पंक्ति में, दुनिया की तुलना एक मंच से की गई है और मनुष्यों की तुलना अभिनेताओं से की गई है जो एक भव्य नाटक में अपनी भूमिकाएँ निभा रहे हैं।


कविता “सात अवस्थाएं” की अवधारणा को रेखांकित करती है, जो जीवन को विभिन्न चरणों में विभाजित करती है, प्रत्येक अपनी परिभाषित विशेषताओं के साथ:


  • पहला चरण: शिशु – असहाय और एक देखभालकर्ता की गोद में रोता हुआ बच्चा।
  • दूसरा चरण: विद्यार्थी – सीखने के प्रति उत्साहहीन और मासूमियत रखने वाला।
  • तीसरा चरण: प्रेमी – भावुक और प्रेम से ग्रस्त, आहें भरते हुए और कविता या संगीत के माध्यम से प्रेम व्यक्त करते हुए।
  • चौथा चरण: सैनिक – साहसी
  • पांचवां चरण: न्यायधीश – गरिमामय और अनुभवी, ज्ञान और उद्घोषणाओं से भरपूर।
  • छठा चरण: वृद्धावस्‍था – एक कमजोर बूढ़ा व्यक्ति, बिगड़ती दृष्टि और फटी आवाज के साथ।
  • सातवां चरण: दूसरा बचपन – पूरी तरह से आश्रित और भूलने वाला, मृत्यु से पहले जीवन का अंतिम चरण।




All the World’s a Stage Poem Explanation 



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.


Word Meaning

Merely: Simply, only

Acts: Parts or roles played in a performance (or life)

Infant: Baby

Mewling: Crying weakly

Puking: Throwing up, vomiting


Explanation: The first line of the poem introduces the metaphor that the world as a stage and humans as actors who have their “exits and entrances,” hinting at birth and death. One person plays many roles in his life. These roles are divided into seven stages. 

The first stage is that of an infant who is crying and vomiting excess milk in the nurse’s arms. Here, nurse refers to a caregiver


Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school.


Word Meaning

Satchel: A school bag

Creeping: Moving slowly and carefully, often because you don’t want to be seen

Unwillingly: Not wanting to


Explanation:  The second stage is that of a schoolboy. This stage is marked by a dislike for school but also youthful innocence. The satchel refers to a school bag, further emphasizing the educational aspect of this stage.


And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.


Word Meaning

Furnace: A large heater or oven

Woeful Ballad: A sad, mournful song or poem

Mistress: A woman a man is romantically involved with


Explanation:  The poem moves on to the third stage which is of the passionate lover. The imagery of “sighing like furnace” depicts intense emotions. The woeful ballad suggests the lover expresses his feelings through poetry or music.


Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon’s mouth.


Word Meaning

Oaths: Strong promises or statements, often with swearing

Pard: Leopard

Jealous in Honour: Easily angered if someone insults their reputation

Bubble Reputation: Fame or a good public image that is easily lost

Cannon’s Mouth: The opening of a large gun


Explanation: The fourth stage is that of a soldier. This stage is characterized by bravery and recklessness, and a strong sense of honour. In this stage, honour and pride hold importance for a man more than his own life. He is very possessive about his reputation and strong enough to fight against anyone questioning his honour.


And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lined,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part.


Word Meaning

Justice: A judge or other official who makes legal decisions

Capon: Tender and juicy rooster (considered a delicacy back then)

Lined: Filled with something

Severe: Strict and serious

Formal Cut: A neatly trimmed beard

Saws: Wise sayings or proverbs

Modern Instances: Examples from recent times


Explanation: The fifth stage is that of justice, a figure of authority and respect. The description of a fair round belly implies prosperity, while the beard of formal cut and eyes severe suggest a dignified and experienced person. These lines highlight the justice’s reliance on knowledge and experience when making judgments.


The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;

His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound.


Word Meaning

Lean and slippered pantaloon: A skinny old man who wears loose-fitting pants and slippers

Spectacles: Glasses

Hose: Long stockings or tights

Shrank Shank: Leg that has become thin and weak

Treble: The higher-pitched part of a musical range (like a child’s voice)


Explanation: The sixth stage is of an old man, described as a pantaloon here. He wears glasses because of weak eyesight and carries a pouch everywhere. Hose are like long socks. He might still have some clothes from when he was younger, but they’re way too big for him now because his legs have gotten thinner. The poem says the man’s deep voice is now turning into a child’s voice.


Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.


Word Meaning

Pipes and Whistles: Makes high-pitched sounds

Oblivion: Forgetfulness or nothingness

Sans: Without


Explanation: The seventh and the final stage is of a second child. This refers to a return to a helpless state, with a complete decline in physical and mental abilities. It’s the “last scene” of life, marking the end of the play and nearing death of a man.

Figures of Speech and Rhyme Scheme

Rhyme Scheme – The poem does not have a rhyme scheme. It’s written in blank verse.


  1. Simile

A simile is a figure of speech that directly compares two things using words like “like” or “as.”

For example- 

  • “creeping like snail” (compares the schoolboy’s slow movement to a snail)
  • “Sighing like furnace” (compares the lover’s intense emotions to the heat of a furnace)


  1. Alliteration

Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words

For example- 

“They have their exits and their entrances” (repetition of “e” for emphasis).

“His youthful hose, well-saved, a world too wide” (repetition of “w” for emphasis).


  1. Metaphor

A metaphor is a figure of speech that compares two things without using “like” or “as.” It suggests that one thing actually is another, creating a deeper meaning or image.

For example- 

“Men and women merely players” compares humans to actors playing roles throughout life.


  1. Onomatopoeia 

Onomatopoeia is a figure of speech where a word imitates the sound it describes.

For example- 

“And then the whining schoolboy” – whining suggests complaining or fussing in a high-pitched voice.

“Sighing like a furnace” – sighing indicates the act of exhaling a long, audible breath.

  1. Inversion

Inversion is a figure of speech where the normal grammatical order of a sentence is rearranged for emphasis or stylistic effect.

For example- 

“His acts being seven ages.”

“With eyes severe and beard of formal cut”

  1. Transferred Epithet

A transferred epithet is a figure of speech where an adjective or descriptive phrase meant for one thing is applied to another.

For example-  

“With a woeful ballad” – Here, “woeful” is an adjective describing the ballad but the sadness of the ballad is transferred to the lover who sings it.



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