CBSE Class 9 English Literature Reader (Communicative) Chapter 9 The Seven Ages Important Question Answers
The Seven Ages Question Answers – Looking for The Seven Ages question answers for Class 9 English Literature Reader (Communicative) book Chapter 9? Look no further! Our comprehensive compilation of important questions will help you brush up on your subject knowledge. Practising Class 9 English Communicative question answers can significantly improve your performance in the exam. Our solutions provide a clear idea of how to write the answers effectively. Improve your chances of scoring high marks by exploring Chapter 9: The Seven Ages now. The questions listed below are based on the latest CBSE exam pattern, wherein we have given solutions to the chapter’s extract based questions, short answer questions, and long answer questions.
Also, practising with different kinds of questions can help students learn new ways to solve problems that they may not have seen before. This can ultimately lead to a deeper understanding of the subject matter and better performance on exams.
Class 9 Communicative English The Seven Ages Question Answers Chapter 9 – Extract Based Question
A. 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 schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.
1. Identify the poetic device in the first line.
Answer: b) Metaphor
2. Which stage comes first in life, according to the passage?
a) Whining schoolboy
Answer: b) Infant
3. Which word is used to describe the infant’s crying?
Answer: c) Mewling
4. What comparison is used to describe the schoolboy’s slow pace?
a) Like a bird in flight
b) Like a rushing river
c) Like a snail
d) Like a shooting star
Answer: c) Like a snail
5. How many “acts” or stages does a person go through in life, according to the passage?
Answer: b) Seven
B. 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.
1. What image is used to compare the passionate lover’s sighs?
a) A gentle breeze
b) A raging storm
c) A roaring furnace
d) A whispering brook
Answer: c) A roaring furnace
2. What form of expression does the lover use to woo his mistress?
a) A love letter
b) A sonnet
c) A ballad
d) A serenade
Answer: c) A ballad
3. Which animal is used to compare the soldier’s beard?
a) A lion
b) A leopard
c) A bear
d) A wolf
Answer: b) A leopard
4. What motivates the soldier’s actions, according to the passage?
a) Wealth and riches
b) Honor and reputation
c) Love and loyalty
d) Fear and cowardice
Answer: b) Honor and reputation
5. What is the implied danger of “the cannon’s mouth”?
a) Loss of money
b) Damage to pride
c) Loss of love
d) Risk of death
Answer: d) Risk of death
C. 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. 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.
1. How is the Justice’s physical appearance described?
a) Gaunt and youthful
b) Well-rounded and prosperous
c) Frail and wrinkled
d) Unremarkable and average
Answer: b) Well-rounded and prosperous
2. What phrase suggests the Justice’s experience and wisdom?
a) “Eyes severe”
b) “Fair round belly”
c) “Formal cut”
d) “Wise saws and modern instances”
Answer: d) “Wise saws and modern instances”
3. What literary device is used in the phrase “well saved, a world too wide”?
Answer: a) Hyperbole
4. What symbolic meaning might the “shrunk shank” represent?
a) Loss of physical strength
b) Decline in social status
c) Loss of mental agility
d) All of the above
Answer: d) All of the above
5. What sound metaphorically replaces the Justice’s “big manly voice”?
a) Thundering drums
b) Whispering wind
c) Babbling brook
d) Childish treble and whistles
Answer: d) Childish treble and whistles
D. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
1. What noun phrase refers to the entirety of human life in this passage?
a) Last scene
b) Strange eventful history
c) Second childishness
Answer: b) Strange eventful history
2. What literary device is used in the phrase “second childishness”?
Answer: b) Metaphor
3. What word suggests the complete loss, without; lacking?
Answer: d) Sans
4. Which sense is specifically mentioned as lost in the final stage?
Answer: d) Taste
5. How does this passage connect to the concept of the “seven ages” introduced earlier?
a) It emphasizes the circular nature of life, ending where it began.
b) It highlights the contrast between the vibrant early stages and the decline of old age.
c) It suggests that death is the final act in the life play.
d) All of the above
Answer: d) All of the above
Class 9 Communicative English The Seven Ages Short Question Answers
Q1. What do you understand of the poem ‘The Seven Ages’?
Ans. Shakespeare, through his poem, says life is like a theatrical play. Nothing lasts forever, and everything changes just like actors changing roles. He says that everyone from babies to old people, just have different “acting roles” on life’s stage. For him, even coming into the world is just an “entrance” and leaving it is simply an “exit”.
Q2. Why does the poet say that the school boy creeps like a snail to school?
Ans. The school boy is not very willing to go to school. He is disinterested and just walks slowly like a snail carrying his school bag. He is always whining and complaining.
Q3. What characteristics does the poet associate with the fourth and fifth stages of man?
Ans. The fourth stage is of a soldier. He is fierce like a leopard, full of vigour and can easily be provoked. He is jealous and always defensive to save his honour. In the fifth stage he is fat and huge. There is somberness in his eyes and his beard gives him a formal look. He is alwaysfull of advice for others and performs the role of a justice.
Q4. What universal themes does the poem explore?
Ans. The poem “The Seven Ages” by William Shakespeare touches on themes like the passage of time, mortality, the universality of human experience, and the changing nature of identity. The poem underscores the rapid and inevitable nature of time’s passage. Each “part” is fleeting, leading inexorably to the next.
Q5. Why does the poet call the world a ‘stage’?
Ans. Stage is a platform in a theatre where actors perform their parts. Similarly, life is also a performance in which men and women play different parts. These roles are predetermined and are in God’s power.
Q6. Explain ‘All the world’s a stage’ with reference to the poem. (CBSE 2010)
Ans. In this poem life is compared to a play. First as man plays different roles in a play so also does he in a real life. As on a stage there is a particular entry and a particular exit of actors; in the same way in life man comes when he is born and departs when he dies. Just as a part is assigned to an actor, in the same God decides man’s role in life, what he has to do at various stages. Nothing is in man’s hand.
Q7. ‘‘Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad made to his mistress’ eyebrow.’’ Why does a lover behave thus?
Ans. In his youth he becomes a lover, falls in love and plays the role of a romantic lover. He writes love songs and when sad and separated from his beloved, he draws deep and hot breaths like the bellows of a blacksmith. He writes sad tragic ballads, sentimental verses and poetic descriptions of his love life. He is lonely and sad.
Q8. With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, full of wise saws and modern instances.” Which stage is this? State the reason for this kind of behaviour.
Ans. His eyes have a severe expression and his beard displays a formal cut. He is always giving wise advise to others, always connecting them with present day instances. This is the stage when man plays the role of a Judge. He accepts the bribe of chicken and meat. He is living a life of ease and has put on a good weight. He has been through youth, a sentimental lover, a daring soldier, so the time is ripe for him to play this role of a wise adviser.
Q9. What are the problems faced by a person in ‘Soldier’ stage?
Ans. The fourth stage of a man is of a soldier. He is heroic, seeking reputation, willing to face total annihilation. He is fierce like a leopord, full of vigour and is easily provoked. He is jealous and defensive. He risks his life to become immortal.
Q10. What is the significance of the phrase “one man in his time plays many parts”?
Ans. This phrase underscores the versatility and adaptability of human beings, constantly changing roles throughout life. It emphasizes that our identity is not static but constantly evolving throughout our lives. We take on different roles, responsibilities, and personas as we move through the seven ages, adapting to circumstances and experiences.
Q11. Discuss the structure of the poem.
Ans. The Seven Ages by William Shakespeare is a 28 line poem. The structure of the poem is –
- Free verse: The poem doesn’t follow a strict metrical pattern like iambic pentameter or sonnet form.
- Unrhymed: While there are occasional internal rhymes like “plays” and “days” or “youthful” and “mouthful,” overall there is no consistent rhyme scheme.
- Use of literary devices: The poem employs vivid imagery, personification, similes, and metaphors to enhance its descriptive power and emotional impact.
The lack of rhyme and meter could be interpreted as reflecting the unpredictable and constantly changing nature of life.
Q12. Why does a man play several parts in life?
Ans. The man playing several parts serves as a powerful metaphor for the dynamism and transience of human life. It compels us to contemplate our own journeys, appreciate the different facets of our identities, and embrace the ever-changing nature of our existence. Through the seven ages, the poem depicts how humans continuously evolve and adapt throughout their lives. Each stage brings different experiences, responsibilities, and appearances, making a single identity insufficient to encompass the entirety of life.
Q13. Describe in brief the play where man plays the seven roles.
Ans. From a helpless baby in swaddling arms, life unfolds its drama in seven acts. First, the whining schoolboy drags his satchel to the classroom, then the passionate lover sighs sonnets to an eyebrow. The soldier, fierce and beard like a leopard, chases fleeting glory in cannon’s roar. Next, the wise justice, belly round and beard full of proverbs, dispenses pronouncements. Time shifts, and the pantaloon, shrunk and spectacles perched, his voice a childish treble, echoes forgotten grandeur. Finally, in hushed final scene, second childishness descends, a curtain drawn on senses and memory, leaving silence where once stories lived.
Q14. Discuss gender in the poem.
Ans. While the opening line of “The Seven Ages”, “ All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” mentions both men and women as players/actors on the world’s stage, the poem itself primarily focuses on male experiences and traditional male roles of Shakespeare’s time. The poem describes seven distinct stages, all occupied by men: infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, pantaloon, and second childhood. Women’s roles are largely absent, except for a brief mention as “mistress” in the lover stage.
Q15. How does the use of humour, such as the imagery of the “whining schoolboy” and the “lean and slippered pantaloon,” contribute to the poem’s message?
Ans. Injecting humour into the portrayal of human weakness and decline acknowledges the absurdity of life’s fleeting nature. It allows us to accept our limitations and laugh at the inevitable changes we all face, making the contemplation of mortality less daunting.
Class 9 Communicative English The Seven Ages Long Answer Questions Chapter 9
Q1. How do the descriptions of the seven ages challenge or reinforce traditional views of ageing?
Ans. The descriptions of the seven ages in Shakespeare’s “The Seven Ages” both challenge and reinforce traditional views of ageing in ways that are complex and thought-provoking.
Traditional views often see each stage of life as fixed and defined, but the play portrays each age as fluid and transformative. The whining schoolboy becomes the passionate lover, the soldier gives way to the wise justice, and youthfulness eventually succumbs to “second childishness.” This challenges the idea of ageing as a linear decline and emphasizes the ongoing changes and adaptations we experience throughout life.
Traditional views may associate certain values with specific ages, such as innocence with childhood and wisdom with old age. However, the poem portrays each age with both positive and negative traits. The infant is helpless but pure, the schoolboy whiny but full of potential, and the justice wise but also potentially pompous. This challenges the tendency to categorize people by age and encourages more nuanced perspectives.
The poem doesn’t entirely escape traditional portrayals. The sixth age features physical weakening, memory loss, and dependence, aligning with common anxieties about ageing. This may reinforce the perception of later years as a time of loss and decline.
Q2. What does the metaphor of life as a stage tell us about human purpose and meaning?
Ans. The metaphor of life as a stage in Shakespeare’s “The Seven Ages” offers a multifaceted perspective on human purpose and meaning, sparking rich interpretation and debate.
- Predetermined Script: The metaphor could suggest a pre-written script with fixed roles and entrances and exits. This interpretation might highlight the limitations of individual agency and emphasize the influence of fate or societal expectations.
- Fleeting Nature of Existence: The poem’s brevity, with stages rapidly transitioning, reminds us of life’s temporary nature. This could lead to a focus on seizing the day and making the most of each act.
- Personal Fulfillment: The focus on individual roles and performances could suggest that finding personal fulfillment and satisfaction is the ultimate purpose. Each character seeks their own goals and desires.
Q3. What can we learn about societal roles and expectations from the different characters?
Ans. Shakespeare’s “The Seven Ages” offers a fascinating glimpse into societal roles and expectations through the seven ages of a man’s life.
Each age is clearly defined by specific roles and behaviours. The infant is dependent, the schoolboy studious, the lover passionate, the soldier fierce, the justice wise, the pantaloon weak, and the final stage characterized by oblivion.
This suggests a society with rigid expectations for individuals depending on their age. Deviation from these roles might be frowned upon or seen as unnatural.
- The poem hints at a stratified society reflected in the characters’ professions and appearances. The justice’s “fair round belly” and “formal cut” beard represent social status and authority, while the soldier’s “strange oaths” and “seeking reputation” suggest a lower social rank.
- This highlights the importance of social standing and the pressure to conform to societal expectations within defined social classes.
- While the poem focuses on a man’s perspective, the “female” is passive and receives a love ballad. The lack of female voice directly addressing societal expectations leaves room for interpretation.
Q4. What values does the play encourage us to prioritize in the face of our eventual “exit”?
Ans. In the face of our inevitable “exit”, “The Seven Ages” subtly encourages several values to prioritize:
- Gratitude: While reflecting on the fleeting nature of life, the play emphasizes the significance of each stage. From the helpless infant to the wise justice, each act contributes to the overall “strange eventful history.” This encourages cherishing the unique experiences and emotions of every phase of life, not just focusing on the end.
- Find Meaning in Experience, Not Material: The characters, despite playing different roles, are not defined by external successes or material possessions. The soldier seeks fleeting “bubble reputation,” the justice enjoys simple pleasures like good food, and the old man loses everything physical. This suggests prioritizing the richness of experiences, relationships, and personal growth over chasing material wealth or outward achievements.
- Purpose in life: While life is ultimately an individual performance, the play also showcases the interconnectedness of characters. The lover sings for his mistress, the soldier fights for his country, the justice upholds the law. This suggests finding meaning in connection with others, contributing to a larger purpose, and leaving a positive impact on the world.
- Accept Mortality with Grace: The final stage, though described with physical decline, is not presented with fear or despair. It’s simply called “second childishness and mere oblivion.” This suggests accepting death as a natural part of life, letting go with calmness, and finding peace in the completion of our “play.”
Q5. How can we apply the insights of this play to our own lives?
Ans. Applying the insights of “The Seven Ages” to our own lives can be a deeply enriching and enlightening experience.
- Live life with purpose and meaning: While the metaphor implies a predetermined script, it doesn’t mean we’re merely passive actors. We can still live our lives with meaning by pursuing our passions, contributing to our communities, and leaving a positive legacy.
- Accept the ephemeral nature of existence: The play’s brevity reminds us that life is precious and fleeting. While this can be melancholic, it can also empower us to live each day to the fullest. Focus on creating meaningful experiences, appreciating the present moment, and leaving behind regrets.
- Embrace change and transformation: The play reminds us that life is a dynamic process, not a stagnant one. Just as the “seven ages” depict constant shifts and transitions, we should be open to embracing new experiences, learning new skills, and evolving as individuals throughout our lives.
Q6. Discuss the theme of the poem.
Ans. The poem “The Seven Ages of Man” by William Shakespeare has several intertwined themes, but the most prominent ones are:
- Inevitability of change: The poem uses the metaphor of a play to depict the seven stages of human life, from helpless infancy to toothless senescence. Each stage is fleeting, leading inexorably to the next. This highlights the temporary nature of our existence and the constant flow of time.
- Universality of human experience: Despite the variations in individual lives, Shakespeare suggests that there’s a shared rhythm to human experience. He portrays stages like the whining schoolboy, the passionate lover, the boastful soldier, and the wise but aging justice, indicating that these roles are played by all, regardless of circumstances.
- Cyclical nature of life: The poem ends with “second childishness and mere oblivion,” suggesting a return to the dependency and helplessness of infancy. This can be interpreted as a cyclical view of life, where one stage ends only to begin anew in a different form.
Q7. Discuss “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”.
Ans. The line “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” from Shakespeare’s “The Seven Ages” sparks countless interpretations and discussions for centuries.
On the surface, it’s a theatrical metaphor comparing life to a grand performance. We, the humans, are actors playing assigned roles on the world’s stage, with entrances and exits marking our births and deaths. This analogy highlights the roles we adopt, the costumes we wear, and the scripts we follow whether dictated by society or chosen by ourselves.
The metaphor emphasizes the dynamic nature of our identities. As actors shift through roles, so too do we change as we navigate life’s stages. Our personalities, priorities, and behaviors evolve, adapting to the circumstances and scripts we encounter.
While the theatrical metaphor is powerful, some interpret the “stage” more broadly. It could represent the world itself, with its social norms, expectations, and challenges. Or, it could symbolize the internal stage of our minds, where thoughts, emotions, and memories play out their own drama. The idea of life as a performance can prompt us to reflect on our own roles and choices. Are we simply reciting someone else’s lines, or are we actively shaping our own script?
Q8. Describe the seven stages in a man’s life.
Ans. It paints a vivid picture of the joys, challenges, and transformations we encounter on life’s grand stage. The seven stages in a man’s life as depicted in Shakespeare’s “The Seven Ages” are:
- Stage 1. Infancy: Helpless and dependent, marked by crying, cooing, and needing constant care. (Lines 5-6)
- Stage 2. Schoolboy: Whining and reluctant to learn, burdened by books and routine. (Lines 7-9)
- Stage 3. Lover: Passionate and emotional, consumed by love and adoration for his beloved. (Lines 10-11)
- Stage 4. Soldier: Bold and daring, seeking honor and glory, even at the risk of death. (Lines 12-15)
- Stage 5. Justice: Respectable and authoritative, dispensing wisdom and enforcing the law. (Lines 16-19)
- Stage 6. Pantaloon: Declining physically and mentally, reliant on aids like glasses and pouches. (Lines 20-24)
- Stage 7. Second Childishness: Completely dependent and forgetful, devoid of senses and unable to function independently. (Lines 25-28)
Q9. What message does Shakespeare’s ‘The Seven Ages’ convey?
Ans. The poem “The Seven Ages” emphasizes the temporary and ever-changing nature of our lives. Each stage, from helpless infancy to toothless senility, fades rapidly into the next, highlighting the preciousness of each moment and the urgency to embrace the unique experiences it offers.
While individual lives differ, Shakespeare suggests a shared rhythm to human experience. He portrays universal stages like the whining schoolboy, the passionate lover, the boastful soldier, and the wise but ageing justice, indicating that these roles are played by all, regardless of circumstances. As characters move through the ages, their appearances, priorities, and behaviors significantly change. This underscores the fluid nature of human identity and the idea that we are constantly evolving and adapting throughout our lives. By presenting the journey from cradle to grave, the poem prompts us to contemplate our own mortality and the meaning of life. It reminds us to make the most of each stage and appreciate the unique experiences it offers.The depiction of the final age without sugarcoating, showcasing its physical decline and mental fragility, encourages acceptance of the natural process of ageing
Q10. Discuss the poetic devices in the poem.
Ans. The Seven Ages of Man by William Shakespeare is packed with a variety of poetic devices, which contribute to its richness and meaning.
- “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”: This is the poem’s central metaphor, comparing life to a theatrical performance. It invites us to see ourselves as temporary actors playing various roles throughout our lifespan.
- “Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon’s mouth”: Here, reputation is likened to a fragile bubble, highlighting its ephemeral nature and the soldier’s willingness to risk death for it.
- “creeping like snail”: This simile vividly depicts the schoolboy’s slow and reluctant progress towards education.
- “bearded like the pard”: This simile compares the soldier’s rough personality and fierce appearance to a leopard.
Imagery: Shakespeare uses vivid verbs and adjectives to create sensory images, allowing the reader to imagine each stage of life.
Alliteration: shrunk shank
Hyperbole: Even in the canon’s mouth
Repetition: ‘sans’ repeated