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Analysis Of The Christian Morality Play "Every Man"

1508 words - 7 pages

Everyman is a Christian morality play written during the 1400s. No one yet knows who wrote this play. It is said that Everyman is the English translation of similar Dutch morality play of the same period called Elckerlijc. Everyman is generally represented as the best and most original example of the English morality play. “Like other morality plays from the late Medieval period, it is meant to communicate a simple moral lesson to both educated and illiterate audiences” (Gyamfi & Schmidt, 2011). “Everyman” is about a man who is content with his life when Death calls and tells him about his end. The author has used metaphorical names for characters to show up the moral of the play.
“Everyman” is a metaphorical story that shows the value of life and death. In the play Everyman, death is exemplified and treated as a mediator of God that goes to visit Everyman. Everyman is a character that represents human and everything that human have to go through in life until the Day of Judgment. The author of the play uses Death as a character to portray a real truth that all human will have to face. The word "death" attracts people's attention because it is a strong word. Death strikes a fear in people’s heart and it is a truth of life that every human will have to face it one day. The author knows the effects of death and he uses it in the play as a character to attract the reader. In the play, the author has used a character Death as an allegorical picture of physical death and is under God's control. The story is shown as life lessons for others in the path they have chosen in their lives. Death is sent to Earth by God to judge Everyman.
The play starts with "here beginneth a treatise how the High Father of Heaven sendeth Death to summon every creature to come and give an account of his or her lives in this world, and is in manner of a moral play" (Aston & Savona, 1991, p.207). In Everyman, death is just a messenger for God. From the beginning of the play, it is known that Death is set below God. “The very opening of the play makes it clear that this "messenger" of God's is an agent of correction rather than of punishment; God tells the audience that he is sending Death, not to slay evildoers, as in Herod and the Castle, but rather to call people to a "reckoning," an explanation of what they have done with the lives lent to them” (Ryan, n.d). Everyman did not want to go along with Death because life’s most disturbing power is death, death is so unfair, once one has tasted life death does not seem natural at all. “When Death explains that he is here to take Everyman on a “longe iourney” to make his “rekenynge … before God,” Everyman's incomprehension is humorous even as it reveals him to be deeply unready for Death's summons: he asks Death, “Sholde I not come agayne shortly?” Everyman's inability to recognize the permanence of Death's “journey” raises the question for the audience of what might constitute such recognition.” (Paulson, 2007). God speaks...

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