Effective Usage of Sound in Jaques "All the world's a stage" speech.

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, December 1996

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As infamous as Shakespeare is, and as well known as his works are, some prose

are just simply more extraordinary than the rest. There are many ways to look at Jaques

speech, such as use of language or imagery yet, something we often do not reflect on is

the sound of the prose. When reading this particular speech, the subject is directly

related to the sounds Shakespeare has chosen. We are guided gracefully through the

stages of life in twenty-seven lines. As it is read aloud, the reader hears the actual sounds

that each stage exhibits, and finds themselves part of the speech, experiencing it, as

opposed to merely reading it.

The introduction is like a drum-roll before the show starts. The intonation at

which the reader proceeds begins with a high sound due to"...(a)ll..." 1 being the first

word. The 'aw' sound is repeated at the beginning and three times during the next

sentence, "And all the men and women merely players;" (2.7.140).

The next sentence is

lower in pitch, using a lower 'e' sound "..exit and their entrances," (2.7.141).

Reappearing in the final two sentences, before the actual ages begin, is the 'aw' sound.

The fluctuation like that of a ring master, is striving to gain attention before the show


The first three stages can be considered the childhood progressing into adulthood

stages. "Mewling and puking..." (2.7.144), are two words, which when said, they are

slurred and unclear, much like that of the speech of an infant. The 'ew' in mewling and

the 'you' sound in puking are common noises from young children. Next we reach the

schoolboy stage. Young men are often reluctant to attend school, and their protests take

the form of "...whining..." (2.7.145). When the word whining is pronounced, it sounds

like a whine.