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Everyman: Death’s Perception And Treatment Essay

1503 words - 6 pages

“Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them’" (Rev 14:13 NIV). The well-known, late fiftieth century morality play, Everyman, depicts the essence of the correlation between performing good deeds and death. Morality plays were allegorical dramas used to instruct audiences in the morals and promises of the Christian faith by using personification. Although, the author of Everyman remains unknown; it is believed to have been the Dutchman, Elckerlijk. In Everyman, the protagonist, represents all of humanity. Additionally, the author “wanted to challenge the audience to do good works in order to win God’s love and acceptance”. Death, Fellowship, and Good Deeds represent personified characters in which the author uses to present the audience with a play where death is perceived as the inevitable fate of every human; therefore Death should be treated with the same fear which God is accredited.
In Everyman, the author perceives death as the inevitable fate of human souls by exhibiting how life is nothing more than a loan from God. The play opens with a messenger addressing the audience and preparing the way for God to enter the scene. God speaks providing a brief catechism and reprimand. “How that all creatures be to me unkind, living without dread in worldly prosperity…Drowned in sin, they know me not for their God.” God professes his displeasure for how people live for their own pleasure. God continues to speak, “My law that I showed, when I for them died, they forget clean, and shedding of my blood red; I hanged between two, it cannot be denied; to get them life I suffered to be dead.” His disappointment in people’s disregard for His crucifixion on the cross to give them life is. Furthermore God acknowledges everyman is living on borrowed time, “nor yet for their being that I them have lent.” God then summons His messenger Death. God instructs Death to seek out Everyman and take him on a pilgrimage which he cannot escape.
The author unveils death as a foreordained journey determined by God once life is established as a loan from Him in which Everyman has taken for granted. Death approaches Everyman, reveals his fate, and conveys to Everyman that his time has come to stand before God, “that shall I show thee: a reckoning he will needs have; without any longer respite.” Everyman pleads to be released from his pilgrimage, however Death reminds Everyman that he comes for all people. “I am Death, that no man dreadeth; for every man I rest, and no man spareth, for it is God's commandment; that all to me should be obedient.” Although Everyman again attempts to prolong his journey by bribing Death, accordingly Death reminds him earthly possessions hold no value to him. According to Judith Rosenberg author of "Parallels: The Morality Play Everyman and Selected Tales of Nathaniel Hawthorne," Everyman’s...

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