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Long Answer Questions (with Solutions) - The Seven Ages Notes | Study English Class 9 - Class 9

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LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS

Q1. Describe the seven stages in a man’s life. What are the attributes of each stage according to Shakespeare?
 Or
According to Shakespeare, there are seven stages in a man’s life and these stages are universal. Justify this statement in light of the poem ‘The Seven Ages’. [CBSE 2010 (Term II)]

Ans. The seven stages in a man’s life are :

1. Infancy,
2. School Boy,
3. Lover,
4. Soldier,
5. Judge,
6. Old-Age,
7. Very old age.

As an infant he only pukes and cries. As a schoolboy he moves about sulking, unwillingly carrying his school bag to the school. As a lover he keeps sighing like a furnace. As a soldier he is heroic, seeking reputation, willing to face total annihilation, he is rash and foolish. He risks his life to become immortal. As a judge he is wise, he gains weight, sports a beard and wears well-cut clothes and is always offering good advice to others. The sixth stage is of old age. He grows weak and thin. His teeth become loose and his legs become thin. In the seventh stage he is too old, without teeth, eyesight and taste. This is his second childhood and also the time to make his exit from the world.

Q2. What message does Shakespeare’s ‘The Seven Ages’ convey? [CBSE 2010 (Term II)]

Ans. Shakespeare wishes to point out that human life is transitory, we are in this world for a short span of time. We are born with a predetermined destiny and we must accept our fate with grace and humility. Every human being has to pass through the necessary stages of childhood, adolescence, youth, middle age and finally death. Death and birth are like the ‘entrances’ and ‘exits’ of actors and are in God’s hands. So we should not complain or grumble but perform our roles with dignity. Since life is short we, should not resort to arrogance or vanity. We are mere puppets in the hands of the puppetmaster i.e. God, so gratitude and compliance is expected from us.

Q3. ‘‘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 tragic and poetic descriptions of his love life. He is always unhappy and sad.

Q4. 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. [CBSE 2010 (Term II)]

Ans. His eyes have a severe expression and his beard displays a formal cut. He is always giving wise advice to others, always connecting them with present-day instances. This is the stage when a man plays the role of a Magistrate. 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 an irresponsible youth a sentimental fool/lover, a daring soldier, so the time is ripe for him to play this role of a wise adviser.

Q5. Why is the world compared to a stage by Shakespeare?

Ans. Stage is a platform in a theatre, where actors perform their roles and all the action is enacted. The roles of the actors are written by the playwright and performed according to the directions of the director. Similarly, life is a performance and this world is akin to a stage, where men are born to perform certain roles, predetermined by God. Human beings cannot choose their roles, they are placed in situations and circumstances according to divine choice. Their births and deaths are also in God’s power. Shakespeare was one of the greatest dramatists of his time and each of the plays he wrote appeared to be small segments from life itself. So the comparison of the world to a stage, life to a drama, is an age-old concept.

Q6. Describe the fourth and fifth stages of man’s life.

Ans. In the fourth stage of his life, man performs the role of a soldier. He is fierce like a leopard, full of vigour and can be easily provoked. He is prone to jealousy and a desire to safeguard his reputation. In the fifth stage of his life he grows fat and huge, his eyes acquire a serious expression and his beard is very formal. He is always advising others and performs the role of a justice, who is desirous of impressing others.

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