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"the Seven Ages of Man" and "the Road Not Taken" Essay

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Giovanny Bravo

Period 3

9/5/15

“The Seven Ages of Man” and “The Road Not Taken” Essay

Life is a collection of various experiences. Depending on who you are, you may choose to believe those experiences were bound to happen no matter what. On the other hand, you may choose to see things in a different light and you may believe that you brought yourself to where you are today. The poem, “Seven Ages of Man” discusses the belief that we all live predetermined lives while “The Road Not Taken” offers a differing opinion in which the speaker considers our fate to be in our hands. Although both poems present contrasting opinions, they both offer perspectives on the experience of life.

The poem “The Seven Ages of Man” by William Shakespeare is centralized on the idea that no one makes their own choices on where they want to go in life and that everything has been set for them since the day they were born. This concept is first represented in lines 1 and 2 of the poem when Jacques states, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” When Jacques says this, he minimizes human life to an acting role by attracting our attention to the theatricality of daily life. Jacques also compares the different stages of life to the several acts of a play. This is evidenced in lines 3-5 when Jacques says, “They have their exits and entrances, and one man in his time play many parts, his acts being seven ages.” This statement furthers Jacques’’ belief that everyone in life simply plays their part and departs afterward since no one lives forever.

        Conversely, the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is based on the notion that we are fully in control of the course of our life and we can do as we please. This is first indicated when the speaker chooses which road to take on lines 4-6 when they state, “And looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth; then took the other, as just as fair.” This statement proves that the speaker had been the only one responsible for their decision to take the road less traveled. The poem also expresses the belief that only the choices we make can affect the outcome of our future. This is shown in lines 16-20 when the speaker states, “I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” When the speaker says this, it indicates that they know their choice is all that influenced how their life would ultimately become.

As previously stated, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost and “The Seven Ages of Man” by William Shakespeare both showcase conflicting viewpoints. The theme of “The Road Not Taken” is that we can make our life choices and they can inevitably affect us greatly. The theme of “The Seven Ages of Man” is that everyone lives momentary lives like that of a play and they merely enter life to play a part and depart to face their imminent mortality and that our lives are arranged for us and all we can do is simply live through life and allow everything to happen. However, despite the disparity between the poems, they both demonstrate different takes on life.

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