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All the World's a Stage

All the World's a Stage

Author: Grace Ortega

Students will be able to state their claim, organize evidence, and produce an analysis paragraph in which they will explain the meaning and relevance of the Globe Theatre's motto "All the world's a stage".  

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Globe Theatre

What do we know about the Globe Theater?

The Globe Theatre's Motto

Totus mundus agit histrionem = All the world's a stage

Make a prediction: Discuss with your neighbor what you think "All the world's a stage" means.

(3 minutes)

"As You Like It" by William Shakespeare


The whole world is a stage, and all the men and women merely actors. They have their exits and their entrances, and in his lifetime a man will play many parts, his life separated into seven acts. 

Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Men

"All the World's a Stage": Shakespeare's Theatrum Mundi of Romance by Jeremy S. Page

The idea of the Theatrum Mundi (literally the world stage) is a metaphor for Shakespeare’s world-view. In many of his plays, characters are pushed about the stage (of the Globe theatre) by external forces, unable to take control over their own lives. There are common patterns that exist between the plays, reflecting the audiences preconceptions about the plot; in the tragedies, we expect the leads to die by the end of the play, and the cross-dressing shenanigans of the comedies will no doubt end up with some happy marriage come the final act.

It is clear from the dramatic texts that Shakespeare was highly aware of popular ideas, and perhaps combined it with his extensive knowledge of the theatrical tradition of the time to explore his view of human existence. Shakespeare perhaps even punned on the sentiment in naming his theatre “The Globe.”

“[Shakespeare’s] audience is invited to make some connection between the events of the action and the form and pressure of their own world.” The popular idea of the Renaissance depicts a human experience where the individual ‘plays many parts’, but has no choice what part he plays.  If indeed “All the world’s a stage”, Shakespeare must have possessed a highly cynical view of the play-acting of love, one that he felt it necessary to often share with his Renaissance audience.


Source: Page, Jeremy S. "'All the World's a Stage': Shakespeare's Theatrum Mundi of Romance." Student Pulse 2.12 (2010).

What Kind of Characters Do We Play?


What do we experience as characters in this play we call “life”?  



Explain the meaning "the world's a stage"

Claim: Why would the Globe Theatre choose this quote as it's motto?


What can we use as evidence to support our claim? Review the excerpt from As You Like It, class discussion, and article. 



Connect the evidence with your claim

Let's Write!

Choose a claim and provide evidence that explains why The Globe Theatre selected "The world's a stage" as their motto.

*One paragraph (minimum 5 sentences)

*Include claim, evidence, and analysis 

*10-15 minutes


(Claim) The Globe Theatre's motto "All the world's a stage" represents the theatrical performance people play from birth to death in reality and on stage. (Evidence 1) Prior to the slogan becoming the theatre's motto, Shakespeare's character, Jaques in As You Like It, used the phrase "All the world's a stage" to explain that life resembles a play as we the actors live our lives while the world watches. (Evidence 2) Jeremy S. Page explains in his article "All the World's a Stage": Shakespeare's Theatrum Mundi of Romance that Shakespeare's skeptical worldview on humanity was demonstrated in his plays where he depicted humans being unable to control the events that took place in their lives. (Evidence 3) Although we may not choose the tragedies or circumstances that occur, we all experience similar life events in one way or another, which makes us able to spectate and relate to each other's performances on stage and in real life. (Analysis/Reason) "All the world's a stage" is an appropriate motto for The Globe Theatre because the audience comes to the theatre and connects the on stage performance to their very own lives. 

Extra Help

Here is a helpful Prezi slideshow that explains claim, evidence, and analysis.

Extra, extra help