Everyman Essay

1745 words - 7 pages

Survey of English Literature IKachramani FiliaProfessor : Dr.ZengosEVERYMANEveryman is a medieval morality play written near the end of the 15th century by an anonymous author. The morality plays were created in the bosom of the church, and their main purpose was didactic, that is, to instruct every individual in the Christian way of life and the Christian attitude towards death, so that he or she could save their soul. In order to stress that everyone is entitled to salvation, the plays were based on a representative figure called "Everyman", who represents all men in their journey through life towards death, so that the audience could easily identify with him. However, to facilitate the communication of these moral lessons to the audience, the play is written in a rather simplistic way, so that they would be imprinted in the mind of the audience, which at the time were unsophisticated and illiterate. Therefore, a modern reader may consider Everyman to be a boring play, since it is simplistic, repetitious and predictable, but at the same time its plot is well structured, meaning that it has an exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and a resolution.The play's original audience understood the role of religion in their lives and believed in the reality of heaven and hell, and thus they were able to relate to the religious and ethical concerns presented for every Christian individual, but since the play addressed common, unsophisticated, and illiterate people, it had to be presented in a rather straightforward way, with a simple plot, conveying clear-cut messages in common language, so that the audience would be able to identify with Everyman, and the moral would have a greater impact on its audience.Everyman, who is immersed in worldly pleasures, when Death calls him unexpectedly, is about to learn that people, just as they are born alone, they die alone, when the people that he felt so close to him, now abandon him one by one, and also that the material goods that one might have accumulated will eventually stay behind. This message is clearly presented, and is communicated through frequent repetitions of events, as Everyman struggles to save his soul and find someone to accompany him to the long upcoming journey to the afterlife. First, Everyman meets his good and faithful friend, Fellowship (l. 205-302), who reassures him that he "will not forsake" him, his "true friend" (l. 212-213), who would die for (l. 219), only to be cruelty and abruptly rejected in the end "I will not go that loathed journey" (l. 268), "God speed thee in thy journey! For from thee I will depart as fast as I may" (l. 295-296). Everyman realizes that Fellowship is actually a good company only in good times (l. 272-274), and that "In prosperity men friends may find, which in adversity be full and unkind" (l. 309-310).Then, Everyman encounters his relatives, Kindred and Cousin (l. 319-368), hoping this time to find reciprocation to his calling for help, but once...

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