“On Golden Pond” contains the theme of aging as can be seen as early on in the Act 1 Scene 1 with setting instructions concerning props and the description of the house the play takes place in. There are six characters each representing different stages of life: elderly, middle-aged, and youth; the characters portray the theme of age through speech and actions.
In the italic stage instructions and descriptions of Act 1 Scene 1 the main living area of the house is described as “rich and wrinkled and comfortable-looking” that gives us an understanding that age here is not a bad thing; the description continues to say the house has “aged well” and through the doorways are of “fading green, hooked rugs and plaid curtains [are] still bright” further explaining to us that age is a natural thing that can still have beauty. More positive descriptions of the room contribute to the idea of age drawing the age theme out further by telling us everything has its place including aging and that it can be done gracefully and comfortably if not always perfectly. Also on the same page is a description of the photos that are props on tables and other places “most of them framed, most of the old and brown, some new”; this contributes to the theme by presenting us with the idea of memories past and present: memories cannot be had if one has not lived and therefore age presents us with a great wealth of memories.
The characters themselves present different stages of life: Norman and Ethel Thayer representing the elderly. Norman is the oldest at 79 and plagued with several problems as is usual with elderly, but his health is said to be good; however, “he is flirting with senility” and while that is a serious problem and a scary one the description continues to say Norman is aware of this and “plays it to the hilt”. Norman has fun with his oncoming senility by exaggerating it: He refuses to let becoming old scare him. Norman is a display of old age who realizes what is happening yet takes it on head first because he refuses to stop living and let death take him, which is something he often jokes about. Examples of his irreverence of death and acceptance of these thoughts can be seen on the following pages: 14-15, 18, 23, 31, 71-72.
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