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Everyman: Perception And Treatment Of Death By The Author

1277 words - 5 pages

Everyman is a late medieval period allegorical drama by an unknown author. It is a morality play from the late fifteenth century with the goal of teaching a moral lesson about how people should live in order to save their souls to its audience. Some Christians embrace the idea that a person must perform good deeds as presented in Everyman to be able to have a relationship with God. “They view the death of Jesus as a means for gaining grace from God or as a powerful example of self-sacrifice, yet each person must struggle to gain salvation or deliverance from the corruption of sin” (Adu-Gyamfi and Schmidt 265). Throughout the entire play, Everyman, evidence of the author’s perception and treatment of death is revealed within its personified allegorical characters and its major themes.
The play begins with the Messenger announcing that the theme of the play is about Everyman’s journey that begins with life which constantly moves and transitions until it ends in death. The play is the study of what a person must do prior to death and follows the journey of Everyman to his grave. The play emphasizes that the only thing any person can take to the grave is good works (Ford 342-343).
God reveals how all creatures are sinful and treat Him unkindly. God is disappointed that the world is obsessed with riches and pays little attention to the spiritual things of real worth. He realizes that people have forgotten that His Son, Jesus, was crucified to give them eternal life. God decides to make all people accountable for their sins and calls for Death to come and receive his instructions. God tells Death to find Everyman and give him the message that he must make his final journey and give an account of his life deeds. Death promises God that he will obey His instructions (Benet 684-685).
Death locates Everyman and tells him that he has been sent by God. Death tells Everyman that he must bring his book listing his good deeds and bad deeds and begin his long journey to death. Everyman protests that he is not ready and is terrified when he learns who Death really is. Everyman then tries to bribe Death with material wealth which makes no difference to Death. Next, Everyman begs Death for more time to get his book of good and bad deeds in better order but Death refuses. Lastly, Everyman asks Death if he will have any traveling companions going along on his trip from life to death. Death tells Everyman that anyone who is brave enough can go with him. Death then tells Everyman that he cannot take any material possessions with him when he dies and leaves.
Everyman asks his longtime friend, Fellowship, to accompany him on his journey to death. Fellowship lets Everyman know that he is only a friend during the good times and there is nothing Everyman can do to entice him to come along on his death pilgrimage. After Fellowship deserts him, Everyman tries calling on his family. Kindred and Cousin both make excuses and refuse to go with Everyman on...

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