Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Seven Stages of Modern Life

Phoebe Warren has updated Shakespeare's famous 'Seven Ages of Man' speech from 'As You Like It' (see original below) to reflect a twenty-first century perspective:

The modern day man has seven stages in which to live.
The first is comprised of potential:
We arise with taught skin stretched plumply over soft bones,
Flawless by nature and design,
Unscarred by the brutal world-
until the moment we let out that fatal scream.
We add to the noise pollution of life
Reinforced by our next path in search of discovery:
we crawl, we climb, we slide
for ambition. Through failure we learn the reality of the world
Only to be met by the third passage, 
becoming magicians composing a virtual social life
alluding one another with filters,
misting over a warped version of reality
In the haze of this confusion we leave our teenage self, 
And embark on the fourth era, in which
we progress to the promised years of independence
correlating with amounting debts,
lack of funding and cooking skills.
Yet, we graduate, we grow, we are promoted,
until we slow to a steady income:
a steady family, settle down and 
the deception slows down too. Yet is this where 
the potential ends? No longer are we anticipating,
rather passively awaiting stage six, where upon
our reliant children lock us up to freely roam 
Over the retirement home estate, crumbling
along side the walls guarding the grounds
until we slip into stage seven. Now the 
body no longer resembles a machine 
built to carry such a life as your own.
So, we loosely tumble, flaking into the 
Earth of which we came so new. 

(see Shakespeare's original, below)

Jaques: 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 a snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like a furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. 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. 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. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange, eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

(from As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7, lines 138-165)

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