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This play is probably the finest and best known of the morality plays of the Middle Ages that

have come down

to us Everyman: Typical human being who has neglected his spiritual life but repents his sins in time to be
saved. Themes -Religious
-Only good deeds and grace can provide salvation. Everyman is a
morality play, an allegorical drama that teaches a lesson about how Christians should live and what they must do to save
their souls. A morality play is, in effect, a sermon that is acted out. The characters of a typical morality play include
personifications of virtues (such as hope and charity), vices (such as pride and sloth), or other qualities, as well as
personifications of objects (such as money) or activities (such as death or fellowship).
God exits, and Death sees Everyman walking along, finely dressed. Death approaches Everyman, and asks him where
he is going, and whether he has forgotten his maker (the one who made him). He then tells Everyman that he must take
a long journey upon him, and bring with him his book of count (his account book as per Gods reckoning, above)
which contains his good and bad deeds.
Everyman says that he is unready to make such a reckoning, and is horrified to realize who Death is. Everyman asks
Death whether he will have any company to go on the journey from life into death. Death tells him he could have
company, if anyone was brave enough to go along with him.
This morality play seeks to answer the important religious question: "What must a man do to be saved?" The play is the
story of Everyman's journey to this final reckoning. Along the way, Everyman tries to convince other characters to
accompany him in the hope of improving his account. The other characters are also allegorical; that is, each character
personifies an abstract idea. The conflict between good and evil is dramatized by the interactions between characters. The
play shows us not only how every man should meet death but also how every man should live.
An allegory is a narrative in which the characters and action, and sometimes the setting as well, have two levels of
meaning. The first level is literal -- a man is going on a trip. The second level is symbolic -- Everyman's life is a journey
from birth to death, and every man makes this same trip. An allegory must make sense at both levels. All of the literal
pieces will fit together to tell a story -- what happens. In addition, all of the symbolic pieces will fit together to teach a
moral -- what the story means.
THE Lord God looks down on Everyman from on high. He sees that Everyman in his seeking for riches and pleasure
has forgotten God and He is much displeased. He calls His messenger, Death, and bids him take to Everyman the
message that he must go on a long journey; that he must prepare to make his accounting before the Almighty God.
Everyman is loath to leave this earth. He pleads that that he is not ready and offers Death a thousand pounds if Death
will reprieve him. Death refuses saying that all the riches in the world might be his if he were open to such bribes.
Everyman next inquires if he will be allowed to return after he has rendered his account to Almighty God. Death assures
him that from the place to which he is going there is no returning. At last, however, Death consents that Everyman may
try to find someone to bear him company on the journey.
Everyman first approaches Fellowship who inquires the cause of his sadness. Fellowship protests that he will do
anything for Everyman even to avenging a wrong done him at the risk of his own life. When, however, Everyman
invites Fellowship to join him in the journey of Death, Fellowship promptly declines and hastens away.
Everyman next bethinks himself of his kinsmen. Some one of them he reasons will make the journey with him, for
blood is thicker than water. When the kinsmen find, however, that it is for the journey from which there is no returning
that Everyman desires companionship, they beg to be excused. Everyman approaches his Worldly Goods with no better
fortune. They assure him that they could only bring him straightway to Hell.
At last he recalls his Good Deeds. She is so weak and helpless by means of Everyman's neglect that she cannot stand.
Only after Everyman is taken to Confession and does penance for his sins does Good Deeds get strength enough to
accompany him. Good Deeds and Knowledge advise him to take with him on the journey Discretion, Strength, and
Beauty, and, as counsellors, his Five Senses. Everyman receives the Last Sacrament and sets out on his journey with
these companions. But when he actually reaches the grave, Beauty makes haste to depart and is promptly followed by
Strength. At last only Knowledge and Good Deeds remain by his side. Good Deeds accompanies him to the Heavenly
realm to plead his cause before his Maker, and Knowledge, remaining behind, hears the joyful songs of the angels.

Fellowship enters, sees that Everyman is looking sad, and immediately offers to help. When Everyman tells him that he is
in great jeopardy, Fellowship pledges not to forsake [Everyman] to my lifes end / in... good company. Everyman
describes the journey he is to go on, and Fellowship tells Everyman that nothing would make him go on such a journey.
Fellowship departs from Everyman as fast as he can. Kindred and Cousin enter, Everyman appeals to them for
company, and they similarly desert him.
Everyman next turns to his Goods and richesse to help him, but Goods only tells him that love of Goods is opposite to
love of God. Goods too forsakes Everyman and exits. Everyman next turns to hisGood Deeds, but she is too weak to
accompany him. Good Deeds sister Knowledge accompanies Everyman to Confession, who instructs him to show
penance. Everyman scourges himself to atone for his sin. This allows Good Deeds to walk.
More friends Discretion, Strength, Beauty and Five Wits initially claim that they too will accompany Everyman on his
journey. Knowledge tells Everyman to go to Priesthood to receive the holy sacrament and extreme unction. Knowledge
then makes a speech about priesthood, while Everyman exits to go and receive the sacrament. He asks each of his
companions to set their hands on the cross, and go before. One by one, Strength, Discretion, and Knowledge promise
never to part from Everymans side. Together, they all journey to Everymans grave.
As Everyman begins to die, Beauty, Strength, Discretion and Five Wits all forsake him one after another. Good Deeds
speaks up and says that she will not forsake him. Everyman realizes that it is time for him to be gone to make his
reckoning and pay his spiritual debts. Yet, he says, there is a lesson to be learned, and speaks the lesson of the play:
A prologue, read by the Messenger asks the audience to give their attention and announces the purpose of the play, which
will show us our lives as well as our deaths (our ending) and how we humans are always (all day) transitory:
changing from one state into another.
God speaks next, and immediately launches into a criticism of the way that all creatures are not serving Him properly.
People are living without dread (fear) in the world without any thought of heaven or hell, or the judgment that will
eventually come to them. In worldly riches is all their mind, God says. Everyone is living purely for their own pleasure,
but yet they are not at all secure in their lives. God sees everything decaying, and getting worse fro year to year (from
year to year) and so has decided to have a reckoning of every mans person. Are they guilty or are they godly should
they be going to heaven or hell?
God calls in Death, his mighty messenger. People who love wealth and worldly goods will be struck by Deaths dart
and will be sent to dwell in hell eternally unless, that is, Alms be his good friend. Alms means good deeds, and it
is an important clue even at this stage that good deeds can save a sinner from eternal damnation.
This morality play has been developed to promote the quest for salvation among the Christiancommunity. It might have
been written by a Christian priest in the mediaeval times. The plot reads thatthe average human is found by God to be
leading his life subjecting himself to all types of wickedcircumstances, and the ultimate result of his behaviour is thought
to be a morally impoverished society.Alarmed by the rate at which the humans deteriorate and at which evil proliferates,
God sends Death tosummon Everyman, who represents all humankind. According to Christian theology, Good and Evil
will be tallied like pluses and minuses in an account book while passing judgement on every human on the
dooms day. So Everyman is supposed to have an account book of th
is sort ready for presentation at histrial in Heaven. The play is the story of Everyman's journey to this final reckoning.
Along the way,Everyman tries to convince the other characters
Fellowship, Kindred, Cousin, Goods, Good-Deeds,Knowledge, Beauty, Strength, Discretion, and Five-Wits
to accompany him in the hope of enjoying theircontribution to the improvement of his account. In the end Everyman
finds all characters except Good-Deeds leave him. So in the company of Good-Deeds he proceeds in his
journey.Everyman is an allegorical play, as the characters are representative of various forces. Like Everyman, theother
characters are also allegorical, as they each personifies an abstract idea. The conflict between goodand evil is dramatised
by the interactions between Everyman and these characters revealing their nature.The play shows not only how every
human should face death but also how every human should live. Themoral dilemma that Everyman is burdened with at
the beginning seems to be common to every human being, and the solution prescribed for him by Good-Deeds and
Knowledge together is reasonable in the context of Everymans struggle for salvation.
Theme of Everyman:

As one might expect from a morality play, Everyman has a very clear moral, one that is delivered in the beginning,
middle, and end. The blatantly religious message is simple: Earthly comforts are fleeting. Only good deeds and Gods
grace can provide salvation. The lessons of the play are delivered in the form of allegorical characters, each one
representing a variety of abstract concepts (i.e. Good Deeds, Material Possessions, and Knowledge).
The Basic Storyline:
God decides that Everyman (a character who represents your average, everyday human) has become too obsessed
with wealth and material possessions. Therefore, Everymanmust be taught a lesson in piety. And who better to teach a
life-lesson than a character named Death?
Man is Unkind:
Gods chief complaint is that humans are ignorantly leading sinful lives, unaware that Jesus died for their sins.
Everyman has been living for his own pleasure, forgetting about the importance of charity and the potential threat of
eternal hellfire.
Upon Gods bidding, Death summons Everyman to take a pilgrimage to the Almighty. When Everyman realizes that the
Grim Reaper has called upon him to face God and give a reckoning of his life, he tries to bribe Death to defer this matter
till another day.
The bargaining doesnt work. Everyman must go before God, never to return to Earth again. Death does say that our
hapless hero can take along anyone or anything that may benefit him during this spiritual trial.
Friends and Family Are Fickle:
After Death leaves Everyman to prepare for his day of reckoning (the moment in which God judges him), Everyman
approaches a character named Fellowship, a supporting role that represents Everymans friends. At first Fellowship is full
of bravado. When Fellowship learns that Everyman is in trouble, he promises to stay with him until the problem is
resolved. However, as soon as Everyman reveals that Death has summoned him to stand before God, Fellowship ditches
the poor guy.
Kindred and Cousin, two characters that represent family relationships, make similar promises. Kindred declares: In
wealth and woe we will with you hold, / For over his kin a man may be bold. But once they realize Everymans
destination, they back out. One of the funniest moments in the play is when Cousin refuses to go because he has a cramp
in his toe. The overall message of the plays first half is that relatives and friends (as reliable as they may seem) pale in
comparison to the steadfast companionship of God.
Goods VS Good Deeds:
After getting rejected by fellow humans, Everyman turns his hopes to inanimate objects. He talks to a character named
Goods, a role which represents Everymans material possessions and wealth. Everyman pleads for Goods to assist him
in his hour of need, but they offer no comfort. In fact, the Goods chide Everyman, suggesting that he should have admired
material objects moderately, and that he should have given some of his goods to the poor. Not wanting to visit God (and
subsequently be sent to hell) Goods abandons Everyman.
Finally, Everyman meets a character that will genuinely care for his plight. Good-Deeds is a character who symbolizes the
acts of charity and kindness performed by Everyman. However, when the audience first meets Good-Deeds, she is lying
on the ground, severely weakened by Everymans many sins.
Enter Knowledge and Confession:
Good-Deeds introduces Everyman to her sister, Knowledge another friendly character who will provide good advice to
the protagonist. Knowledge serves as an important guide for Everyman, instructing him to seek out another character:
Confession. Everyman is led to yet another character, Confession. This part is fascinating to me, as a reader, because I
was expecting to hear a bunch of scandalous dirt on our main character.

I was also expecting him to beg forgiveness, or at least apologize for whatever sins he has committed. Instead, Everyman
asks for his vices to be wiped clean. Confession says that with penance Everymans spirit may become clean once more.
What does penance mean? Well, in this case it seems that Everyman undergoes a severe and purifying form of physical
punishment. After he suffers, Everyman is then amazed to discover that his Good-Deeds are now free and strong, ready
to stand by his side during his moment of judgment.
And the Rest:
After this purging of the soul, Everyman is ready to meet his maker. Good-Deeds and Knowledge tell Everyman to call
upon three persons of great might and his Five-Wits (his senses) as counselors.
So Everyman calls forth the characters Discretion, Strength, Beauty, and Five-Wits. Combined, they represent the core of
his physical/human experience.
According to the Five-Wits, priests are more powerful than angels. This reflects the prevalent role in medieval society; in
most European villages the clergy were the moral leaders of society. However, the character of Knowledge mentions that
priests are not perfect, and some of them have committed egregious sins.
The discussion concludes with a general endorsement of the church as the surest path to salvation.
Unlike the first half of the play when he begged for help from his friends and family, Everyman is now relying on
himself. However, even though he receives some good advice from each entity, he realizes that they will not go the
distance as he journeys closer to his meeting with God.
Like previous characters, these entities promise to stay by his side. Yet, when Everyman decides that it is time for his
body to physically die (perhaps part of his penance?), Beauty, Strength, Discretion, and the Five-Wits abandon him.
Beauty is the first one to take a hike, disgusted by the idea of lying in a grave. The others follow suit, and Everyman is
left alone with Good-Deeds and Knowledge once again.
Knowledge explains that he wont be going into the heavenly sphere with Everyman, but he will stay with him until he
departs from his physical body. This seems to imply that the soul does not retain its earthly knowledge.
However, Good-Deeds (as promised) will journey with Everyman. At the end of the play, Everyman commends his soul
to God. After his departure, an Angel arrives to announce that Everymans soul has been taken from his body and
presented before God. A final narrator enters to explain to the audience that we should all head the lessons of Everyman.
Everything in our lives is fleeting, with the exception of our acts of kindness and charity.
It relates through allegory the tale of a dying Everyman and the items and qualities he most values, which attend to him in
his death. The play opens with a messenger preparing the way for God, who after an opening meditation commands Death
to seek out Everyman and warn him that God sits in judgment of Everymans soul. Death approaches Everyman and
foretells his demise, telling Everyman that he will now undertake the pilgrimage of the soul and stand before God to be
reckoned. Everyman pleads to be released from his journey, even begging for the journey to be delayed if only for a day,
but Death reminds Everyman that he comes for all people in their turn. Everyman laments at his fate and attempts to find
comfort and companionship for his journey.
First he looks for solace among his friends, allegorized by Fellowship. Initially, Fellowship seems very concerned about
Everymans grave state and pledges his undying fealty and assistance, but upon discovering that Everyman undertakes the
journey to Death, Fellowship abandons Everyman to his own fate. Next, Everyman turns to Cousin and Kindred,
believing that familial bonds will prove stronger than those of Fellowship; but, family, too, despite professing their love
for and support of Everyman, abandons him in the time of his greatest need. Next, Everyman turns to his own material
possessions, his Goods, which Everyman has spent a lifetime amassing. Everyman believes that his Goods will
accompany him on his pilgrimage to judgment, but his Goods, too, forsake Everyman, leaving the lamentable figure
wailing over his fate.
Now, in his moment of greatest despair, Everyman considers his own good deeds. Calling for his Good Deeds, Everyman
can hear only a weak and faint reply, since his Good Deeds are but small in comparison to Everymans sins. Nonetheless,
Good Deeds advises Everyman to call upon his knowledge, to act as counsel in this hour of need. Knowledge comes
when called and prepares Everyman for Confession; after making an honest and penitent accounting of his life, Everyman
finds Good Deeds strengthened and able to rise from the dirt. Good Deeds and Knowledge urge Everyman to call upon
his other attributesBeauty, Strength, Discretion, and Five Witsto aid him in preparing for his journey. This they
happily do, each offering their support and proffering some wisdom to aid Everyman on his final pilgrimage. Each of his
qualities pledges to stand by Everyman, but as he approaches his own grave, each is taken aback. First Beauty abandons
him, then Strength, then Discretion, and then finally his own Five Wits. Eventually, even Knowledge warns Everyman
that he, too, will abandon him but only at the very end. Thus Everyman learns that he may only take Good Deeds with
him to the grave and with him as he stands before God.
Everymans suffering, honest, and penitent confession, buoyed by his Good Deeds, allows him to be brought into the
Kingdom of Heaven. As an angel welcomes Everyman into heaven, Doctor, a figure who represents a wise theologian in
medieval times, comes on stage and gives the plays moral. The Doctor warns that Everymans friends, family, and
material possessions cannot take the final journey with him and that even Beauty, Strength, Discretion, and Five Wits will
abandon him. The Doctor also warns that if the size of Everymans Good Deeds is too small, they will not be sufficient

for him to enter into heaven. Yet, the Doctor concludes, if Everyman makes an honest confession and can make a clear
accounting of his own good deeds, then the Kingdom of Heaven will belong to Everyman.
One day a Messenger appears to announce that in the beginning of life, human beings should look to the ending, for they
shall see how all earthly possessions avail little in the final reckoning. Sin may look sweet at first, but in the end it causes
the soul to weep in pain.
Then God speaks. All living creatures are unkind to him. They live with no spiritual thought in their worldly possessions.
The crucifixion is a lesson they forget. Human beings turn to the seven deadly sins, and every year their state grows
worse. Therefore, God decides to have a reckoning, lest humankind become more brutish than the beasts.
At an imperative summons, Death comes to receive his instructions. He is ordered to search out all human beings and tell
them that they have to make a pilgrimage to their final reckoning. Death promises to be cruel in his search for everyone
who lives outside Gods law. Spying Everyman walking unconcernedly about his business, his mind on fleshly lust and
treasure, Death bids him stand still and asks him if he forgot his maker. Death announces that God dispatched him in all
haste to warn Everyman. Everyman is to make a long journey, and he is to take with him his full book of accounts. He is
to be very careful, for he did many bad deeds and only a few good ones. In Paradise, he will soon be forced to account for
his life.
Everyman protests that Death cannot be further from his thoughts. Death, who sets no store by worldly goods or rank, is
adamant; whom he summons must obey. Everyman cries in vain for respite. Then he asks if he must go on the long
journey alone. Death assures him that he can take any companions who will make the journey with him. Reminding him
that his life is only his on loan, Death says he will return very shortly, after allowing Everyman an opportunity to find
companions for his journey.
Weeping for his plight and wishing he was never born, Everyman thinks of Fellowship, with whom he spent so many
agreeable days in sport and play. Fortunately, he sees Fellowship and speaks to him. Seeing Everymans sad countenance,
Fellowship asks his trouble. Everyman tells him he is in deep sorrow because he has to make a journey. Fellowship
reminds him of their past friendship and vows that he will go anywhere with him, even to Hell. Greatly heartened,
Everyman tells him of Deaths appearance and his urgent summons. Fellowship thinks of the long trip from which there
will be no return and decides against accompanying Everyman. He will go with him in sport and play, he declares, or to
seek lusty women, but he definitely refuses to go on that pilgrimage.
Cast down by this setback, Everyman thinks of Kindred. Surely the ties of blood are strong. His Kindred swear that they
will help him in any way they can, but when they hear that Everyman has to account for his every deed, good or bad, they
know at once the last journey he has in mind. They refuse unanimously to go with him. Everyman appeals directly to his
favorite cousin, who says he would go willingly were it not for a cramp in his toe.
Everyman think of turning to Goods. All his life he loved Goods. Goods hears his plea and offers to help him, but when
asked to go on the journey to the highest judge of all, Goods promptly refuses. Everyman reminds him that money is
supposed to right all wrongs. Goods disagrees with him. Anyway, if Everyman takes Goods with him he will be the worse
off for it, for worldly goods are not given, only lent.
Everyman becomes ashamed of having sought unworthy companions. Calling aloud to Good-Deeds, he asks again for
help. Good-Deeds answers feebly, for he is lying on the cold ground, bound by sins. Good-Deeds already knows of the
projected journey and wants to go along, but he is too weak to stir. Everyman learns that Good-Deeds has a sister,
Knowledge, who will stay with him until Good-Deeds can regain strength.
Knowledge promptly offers to go with him and guide him in his great need. Knowledge led him to Confession, who lived
in the house of salvation, to ask for strength for Good-Deeds. Confession in pity gives penance to Everyman to shrive his
soul. Accepting penance joyfully, Everyman scourges his flesh and afterward Knowledge bequeaths him to his Savior.
Thankfully Good-Deeds rises from the ground, delivered from sickness and woe. Declaring himself fit for the journey,
Good-Deeds promises to help Everyman count his good works before the judgment throne. With a smile of sympathy,
Knowledge tells Everyman to be glad and merry, for Good-Deeds will be his true companion. Knowledge gives a garment
to Everyman to wear, a garment of sorrow that will deliver him from pain.
Asking Good-Deeds if his accounts are ready, Everyman prepares to start his pilgrimage. Good-Deeds reminds him that
three other companions will go part of the way: Discretion, Strength, and Beauty. Knowledge proposes also the Five Wits,
who will be his counselors. After Knowledge calls the new companions together, Everyman, now well fortified, sets out
on his last journey.
Knowledge says that their first stop must be to see the priest, who will give Everyman unction and ointment, for priests
perform the seven unctions as intermediaries of God. Surely priests are human beings best hope on earth, in spite of the
many weak and venal people who are often invested with Holy Orders.
After receiving the last rites from the priest, Everyman prepares to meet Death. Again he is troubled, however, for one by
one his companions leave him. Even Knowledge refuses to go with him into the presence of his maker. Only Good-Deeds

stays with Everyman until the end. Thus it is with everyone who must die. Knowledge, Strength, Beautyall the other
companions are a help in the journey, but only Good-Deeds can face Death.
The Angel greets Everyman as an elected spouse of Jesus. Taking him on high, he announces that Everyman is thus
exalted by reason of his singular virtue. When Everymans soul is taken from his body, his reckoning is crystal clear. Thus
shall it be with everyone who lives well before the end.
Finally a Doctor appears to remind all human beings that on the last journey, Beauty, Strength, Discretion, and the Five
Wits forsake everyone at the end; only Good-Deeds avail at the final judgmentEveryman is a one-act play that begins with
a Messenger announcing the play's purpose: Everyman will be called before God, and thus..