Conflicting Value Systems In Everyman, Dr Faustus And Hamlet

1890 words - 8 pages

Conflicting Value Systems in Everyman, Dr Faustus and Hamlet            

Conflicting value systems are always around, especially where death is involved. So in the tragedies of Everyman, Doctor Faustus and Hamlet there are many conflicts to face. These include personal moral conflicts with individual characters of the plays and also opposing values between the different characters in the play.  Conflicting value systems may even stretch to how the audience interprets the play and the beliefs and culture at the time.

In Everyman, we can see that the character 'Everyman' faces a moral dilemma as God summons Everyman by offering Death to take him as his own. This creates to conflicting value systems. One is whether Everyman should go with Death.

O wretched caitiff, whither shall I flee
that I might escape this endless sorrow? (l.171-2)

Here Everyman is questioning whether or not he should go with Death. He is finding it very difficult to come to a decision in his mind. The play, Everyman is about whether he will make the right decisions.

The other question is with Everymans' friends. Should they go with Everyman?

That is matter indeed. Promise is duty;
But and I should take such a voyage on me,
I know it well, it should be to my pain;
Also it maketh me afeared certain. (l.248-9)

Here Fellowship declines from taking part in Everymans' journey, though he feels ashamed and weak to do so. Kindred, Goods, Knowledge, Confession, Beauty, Strength, Discretion and Five-wits also decline to go with Everyman, after facing a personal moral conflict.

The whole of Everyman consists of dramatic conflict and abstract argument as Everyman struggles for his soul. This is called Psycho Machia. This means that because of all of the conflicting value systems, Everyman has to remain strong in the mind in order to make the right decisions.

There are inner moral dilemmas for all of the characters involved, as each of them have to fight with their conscience in order to make the right decisions.

We can also find conflicting values in the religion of the play. Everyman is a Christian play in which God is seen as manipulative and vengeful, though heaven is seen as a good place.

Now shalt thou into the heavenly sphere,
Unto which all ye shall come
That liveth well before the day of doom. (l.899-901)

This alone shows a conflicting value within the play. Also, people of other religions would like to see God as a different figure and they may not believe in Heaven and a Hell. A Catholic would be able to do many bad deeds, yet would still be allowed to enter the Kingdom of Heaven if he had repented of his sins, and so because of this the audience could see the whole play as having conflicting value systems. In fact the whole audience could be in conflict.

The play shows two different value systems within the moral argument. Everyman doesn't always make the right choices, after facing conflicting dilemmas with his...

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