Everyman is a morality play that uses allegory to show how man must stand before God to be judged, and account for his sins one day. The play uses a lot of characters that are not real people, or objects that you could see or touch, and makes them have human qualities. The play starts off saying, “Here beginneth a Treatise how the High Father of Heaven Sendeth death to summon every Creature to come and give Account of Their Lives in This World, and is in Manner of a Moral Play.” This play enforces religion, and really shows how God is the ultimate being who we must go through for salvation because of our sins.
When facing death, men search for value, and take account for everything done in their life. Most are not ready for death, and try to bargain with God for more time. Some who aren’t religious bargain for more time with money. They try to pay for the best doctors, and try to buy the best medicine. In the end if it’s your time to go, all the money in the world will not help. This is what Everyman learns either now, or inevitably later.
Everyman in the play has forgotten about God. At the beginning God is speaking to his messenger saying that men are too busy with their lives to think about him. Everyman represents humanity. God sends Death; his messenger to Everyman. “Go thou to Everyman, And show him, in my name, a pilgrimage he must take, which he in no wise may escape.” When Everyman is called by Death he wants Death to be gracious, and give him more time, but Death isn’t compromising. His mind is on fleshly lust and his treasure, “And great pain it shall cause him to endure, Before the Lord Heaven King, His mind is on fleshly lust and his treasure, and great pain it shall cause him to endure, Before the Lord Heaven King. Everyman turns to worldly things.
He calls for Fellowship, and although Fellowship will be with him to eat drink, and be merry, he will not go with him to the grave. He then turns to his friends, His Kindred and his Cousin. They tell him they cannot go with him, and they desert him. His cousin says, “I have a cramp in my toe: Trust not to me. For, so God I speed, I will deceive you in your most need.” He also says that he is not ready for his own reckoning with God.
Neither friends nor family members can go with us in facing death. That is our ultimate isolation, when we are truly alone is in our death. A lot of people think they can bring their earthly treasures along with them, but those things are only temporary. They last as long as were alive. The only thing that will accompany everyman in death are our good deeds.
In the play Good Deeds is so weak because Everyman had not done much for others, which can represent everyman’s selfishness. He has his gold and money piled up, and locked away. Goods told him he cannot accompany Everyman beyond death, and he would only hurt his chances when called for judgment. (This teaches that everyman will be at some time in their life, rejected by their friends. Fellowship even says he will even go to hell with him but Fellowship didn’t really mean what he was saying. Which shows how sometimes friends just tell you what they think you want to hear.
Sometimes being rejected by false friends will lead you to find truth, and things that are real. Knowledge shows Everyman that he must repent of his sins, and only that way will we be saved. Everyman is a play based around the Christian religion, its centers around sin and wrong doings everyman has because we are human. Everyman is depressed, and alone because no one will accompany him.
He asks for his Goods to help him. He wants to buy his way into heaven. He finds that his material possessions cannot come with him when he dies. Next he turns to Good Deeds, but Good Deeds is weak because she didn’t have much of them in his life.
She tells him her sister Knowledge can help until he is strong enough. Knowledge tells everyman that he needs to turn to Discretion,(who helps everyman make good choices) Strength, His Five wits (Five wits are our senses that helps us in life. the ability to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch) and Beauty. These help him with his book of accounts.
Confession tells him to confess his sins, and then Knowledge tells him Good Deeds is strong, and can come with him. One by one earthly things leave him as the end draws near. First Beauty leaves his side, and tells him she wouldn’t go to the grave even if he were to give her all the gold in his chest. Beauty is important to a lot of people in life, but when we die that is the first to go. Then Strength leaves him saying he has accompanied him far enough, and he cannot go into the grave. On our death bed Everyman gets weak and tired, and strength has to leave us. Discretion then leaves saying after Strength leaves he has to follow behind. Five wits leaves, and tells him farewell. Our senses start to weaken, and then they are gone completely in our earthly body.
All leave him except for Good Deeds, which goes with him to the grave and into the afterlife. Knowledge hears angels singing, and then the angel comes and brings Everyman into the afterlife. There are a lot of lessons taught in the play centering on religion. Salvation, generosity, forgiveness, and Gods love are a big part of Everyman.
The doctor comes in at the end of the story, who is actually a doctor of philosophy. He reminds Everyman that he will one day go before God, and he cannot take his worldly things with him except for his good deeds. The play ends in teaching forgiveness. Everyman is forgiven when he meets with Confession. He confesses his sins and because of all the characters that lead him to his salvation, Everyman ascends into heaven with Good Deeds and he is ready for judgment.