The Stage

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 snail
Unwillingly to school. 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 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 lin’d,
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 slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav’d, 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.

– Jacques of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

When my twelve year old self read this for the first time, it was as an assignment for my eighth grade speech class.  Even then, those first words struck me as powerful.  We’re characters.  I get it.  Adaptation to our respective roles is an essential part of survival.  The way I behave at a picnic is not the way I behave at work.  But in those different roles, I’m still Mel.  Persona is fine in its place, but not at the expense of your conscience, true self and spirit.  There are times when we allow what is expected to dictate actions and and reactions, rather than our authentic beliefs.

Let your inner self define the role, not the other way around.  I believe in the better nature of people.  I’m sure that though there are some bad apples out there, most of us at least have a skeletal knowledge of what is decent.  We know how we want to be treated.  Be true to that part of yourself.

That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

We go out the way we come in.  That part of life is constant and unavoidable.  Fortunately, we have control over making everything that takes place in-between count for something.

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One response to “The Stage

  1. Well said, doll. I think there’s no part that I play better than that of myself, so I do my best to keep it “a hunnid” (one hundred percent for those of you not in the know”).

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