all the world's a stage

Cultural Dictionary

All the world's a stage definition


The beginning of a speech in the play As You Like It, by William Shakespeare. It is also called “The Seven Ages of Man,” because it treats that many periods in a man's life: his years as infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, judge, foolish old man, and finally “second childishness and mere oblivion.” The speech begins: “All the world's a stage, / And all the men and women merely players&ellipsis4;”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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