Blog entry by molly lowrens
In the play Everyman, the theme of morality is a guide throughout the entire story. It is closely intertwined with the theme of religion and also with people’s attitude to God, but it is still the topic of discussions and discourses because nowadays people are not perfect yet, and many of them have their lifestyle, not as good as it should be. There exists the thought that the play is a copy of a Flemish play Elckerlyc. The author of Everyman is still unknown. On the whole, an expert of English literature, Henry de Vocht, found out that the content and structure that were used in Everyman in comparison to Elckerlyc left no doubts that the original version of the play is English. He said that the English text was superior in conception, whereas the Flemish variant had inaccurate morality in many places. The time, which everything happened in, was the 1400’s; so the language it was written in has a lot of archaisms. The place of action is Earth, and the main character, Everyman, is a representative of all mankind.
Topic of religion and idea of God’s bound to a man will be relevant and have a topicality at any time of human history. In every era and period of one’s life, people are immersed into a daily routine, troubles, worries. Today, there are lots of causes that bring people to despair, sorrow, gloominess. God is the only one that people address to when it seems that everything is bad and lost. So, when times are hard, one of the ways we can distract from the daily problems is religion. People start to pay more attention to the question like what will be with them after death.
Actually, the word ‘death’ scares people even when pronouncing it. It is common for humans because everyone would first of all bind it to a physical death. In fact, that is the one of interpretations of Death in the play, but not the only one. The emphasis is put in Everyman on that moral death that occurs not when a soul leaves a body, but when human’s values and deeds are changing in a bad way as people are becoming egoistic, greedy, concentrated on the worldly pleasures. Prof. Henry de Vocht thought that the teaching side of the play has great relevance. He believed that the purpose of Everyman is making audience think of salvation and start living a more religious life.
Everything in the play begins when God discovers that people show interest only towards what concerns their own private affairs. Spirituality is losing its place in life and is becoming a very rare phenomenon. In many cases when people learn and use all the worldly pleasures, they lose something spiritual, heavenly and do not want to think of something higher and poetic. God sends Death to Everyman to make him reconsider all his sins. Everyman is depicted as the shape of the whole mankind. Furthermore, there are abstract characters in the play, such as Fellowship, Kindred, and Goods.
People are so obsessed with material goods and welfare that Everyman begs Death to take gathered Goods with him. Such a request is declined because Everyman has never given these Goods to less fortunate people. So, the answer of Death is like that he follows no man in such voyages and the God would be only more severe in that case.
Everyone refuses to go because they have their own accounts to give, and only Good Deeds were willing to help Everyman, but they were too weak that they could not go with him. Allegory is obvious at once. People do little for someone else apart from their own selves, so it is not easy to compare good deeds with a big amount of people’s flaws.
After Everyman repents and confesses his sins, he becomes ready for eternity, and Good Deeds introduce Everyman to Discretion, Strength, Five Senses, and Beauty. Only Good Deeds accompany him in the heavenly regions.
While Everyman existed during many years, it had proven to be the most repeated play of its kind and also one of the modern theatre’s ancestors. It has great topicality for our days. Through Everyman one can see what the times it was written in were like, and also can see the values of the age. Those values as we could compare are not so different from our ones. To a modern audience, such individual lessons may seem boring and unnecessary but, in fact, have to be seen. The most obvious lesson is showing a path to salvation, which is offered to every person through the death of Christ Jesus.
Discussions over the theological meaning of terrestrial poverty and wealth came up in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries when the Roman Church made up a penitential system. According to this, accepted material gifts were the signs of repentance. Maybe, that fact was something to push the author to write the play and show people the real idea of church and faith.
At all, everything should be viewed through the prism of the time at which the play was written. That was the 15th century, and that time’s characteristics of people assists to uncover the true relevance of the play more than any of characters described in the play. If the character and purpose of Death’s presence in the play is realized thereat, the whole value and theme of the story come to the surface. Death may be perceived as a servant of God and reaper. The character of Death can be understood as a contradiction in frames of the play but in this contradiction lays the exact significance of Death. As shown at the beginning of the play, Death is indeed a servant of God; however, humaneness is still related to death, and death stays a great fright and evil. This feature of Death can be seen throughout the story as Everyman tries to avoid it. Death in the story is depicted as fast, brutal, fearless, cruel, and ruthless. No one can anyway avoid Death, even if one runs from it all the time. While the play goes on, Death waits for Everyman to come. As Everyman is punished and passes the right way, he comes to be a witness of great Death’s secret. There Everyman finds out that Death has a great power within the material world but it is helpless in comparison to God; he cannot allow a man to enter the heaven. As shown at the very beginning of the story, Death has no authority and control over God. Death can only help God, but he does not do this joyfully. On the contrary, Death assists God with great spite and malice; he has the same attitude towards all mankind. This envious help depicts Death as a servant of God, his slave or hostage. Death is used in the play for God’s purposes and favor of mankind. God is really a King over all Earth, and even over Death, but Death anyway still has influence over mankind. To understand all the essence and meaning of Death in the play, its power should be shown in bound with its slavery and dependence on God.
After all, Everyman becomes a great follower of God’s power and glory. This can be seen from his treatment and attitude towards Death in the play. Death is like a figure to display both God’s power and goodwill. Death is governed by God and also seems to hold only an evident authority over the mankind. According to the play, God overcomes death and gives a present of salvation to all mankind. Humans should only search and follow God and make His glory known during their lifespan, and they shall adopt a winning attitude towards Death.
So, Everyman has been shown the true way and conquered Death. Afterwards, Everyman is told that he will dwell with angels in heaven.
The play Everyman is known as the last surviving morality play that relates to genre of medieval drama. The origin of the drama is unknown as well as the author.
During the late 15th century there were a lot of deaths and despair in England. Much of it was caused by Black Death plague. It was considered as unavoidable, so everybody knew that sooner or later he/she could die. The topic of death appeared to be popular, so the drama obviously was of certain relevancy. Death was all around. Such an atmosphere could not produce something good in human relationships. On the contrary, people’s morals worsened very fast, and everyone cared only about himself/herself as they did not want to die of plague.
It can be presumed that Everyman was created with the aim of helping people to look at themselves from a different angle, and convince that there was another way to behave. Character of Death in this drama symbolizes something like synthesis of good and evil. On the one side, it separates people from each other. On the other side, the second purpose of Death is to show people that they should help each other and not become unsocial. Death shows people that they have to get reunited to overcome any evil.
Molly Lowrens is editor and personal letter writer. This company has years of experience writing original papers.They have the people to produce what you need no matter what kind of assignment you need. She started her career writing blogposts.