Everyman Essay

676 words - 3 pages

Everyman

“Everyman" certainly fits the mold of a typical medieval mystery play. Ominously, the play begins with God perceiving how "all creatures be to [Him] unkind." Men, it seems, commit the Seven Deadly Sins far too regularly, and their only concern seems to
be their own pleasure. Angered by this casual manner humans have adopted toward Him, God decides a reckoning is in order. He summons his "mighty messenger" Death, eerily and effectively personified for the audience members. God commands the dark figure to go forth to the Earth and take Everyman on a "pilgrimage" he will never escape. At the beginning of the play, there is no doubt that this pilgrimage is the road to hell and eternal damnation.

The character of Everyman, is the personification of the human race. The play relies heavily on that literary technique. Human traits and ideals are personified to more effectively convey the stern message of the play. Fellowship, knowledge, discretion, and other human concepts appear not as the intangibles we know them to be, but as actual characters conversing and interacting with Everyman. By personifying these and other concepts, the author allows the theme of Everyman to become more visible, though it is difficult to imagine it being overlooked otherwise. By having Everyman interact with these conceptualized characters, the author externalizes his inner conflict. Perhaps this technique seems too obvious or almost condescending to our more literate age, but whatever the case, it effectively conveys the central message of the play.

A consequence of this technique is a stage full of characters with whom we cannot identify. it is difficult for an audience member, medieval or otherwise, to identify with a character who is a concept without individuality. The uniqueness we associate with humans can not be found here, as the characters represented do not represent actual human beings. Even Everyman, the primary narrative...

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