Eveyman Analysis Essay, Research Paper
Everyman is a medieval allegory and also classified as a morality play that is
majorly devoted to the demonstration of how temporary everything in life is as
death approaches, except good deeds. We witness the struggle of salvation that
takes place throughout the play by the main character, Everyman. This character
is literally the embodiment of everyman in the world. Everyman represents
everything that mankind is and does.
Everyman begins with God dissatisfied because all creatures on the earth
choose riches over righteousness and generally live a life of sin. The play seems
to follow a pattern where Everyman pleads with a character, who is the physical
embodiment of some worldly attribute, to go with him on a journey to his day of
ending life, which is followed by promises of allegiance from the other characters
ending in ultimate betrayal.
Their is a noticeable halt from this pattern, led by two of the earthly
characters, Knowledge and the Five-wits. On line 706, Knowledge begins a
discussion on the usefulness and power of the Priesthood. Everyman, hearken
what I say: Go to Priesthood, I you advice, And receive of him, in any wise… in
which any wise means at all costs. Five-wits goes on to explain the importance
of the sacraments as keys to salvation, and how only the priest holds those
keys. The Five-wits burst into a final glorification of the priesthood that includes
suggesting that through the priesthood has more power than the angels, and has
power to hold God s flesh, and the power to damn people to hell or save them
forever, and finally just explaining that all of God s blessings come through the
priesthood and the priesthood only.
Everyman, that is the best that ye can do: God will you to
salvation bring. For priesthood exceedeth all other thing: To us
Holy Scripture they do teach, And converteth man from sin,
heaven to reach; God hath to them more power given Then to
any angel that is in heaven With five words he may consecrate
God s body in flesh and blood to make, And handleth his Maker
between his hands. The priest bindeth and unbindeth all bands,
Both in earth and in heaven. Thou ministers all the sacraments
seven; Though we kiss thy feet, thou were worthy; Thou art
surgeon that cureth sin deadly; No remedy we find under God
But all only Priesthood. Everyman, God gave priest that dignity
And setteh them in his stead among us to be. Thus be they
above angels in degree (730-749).
Throughout this play, the search of survival that Everyman is after is
clearly evident. He realizes that Death is after his reckoning, and knows that he
needs to find a way to feel security, not only with himself, but with the fact that
he will be in front of God laying everything to him. Death makes known to
Everyman that he cannot run away from death, he basically reinforces that death
is part of life. You live, do your wrongs and rights (good deeds), and then you
face God for your eternal salvation (death). Death then refers to the way
Everyman has lived his life and demands his reckoning or account book.
Everyman must tell God how he has spent his life and if he has spent it wisely.
As Dr. Desmet says, In an important way, the play Everyman demonstrates the
ways in which a person who does have talents (Good Deeds that are trapped in
the ground) wastes them , like the servant who buries his one talent the ground
and is cast into the dark, the place of wailing and grinding of teeth.
Everyman was responsible for several good deeds during his lifetime.
These good things that began to diminish with old age, as did each of his five
senses, until they all just completely disappeared. Everyman definitely had his
flaws. His good deeds were practically canceled out by sin. For instance,
Everyman has great love for material possessions. Throughout his life he
believed that money made right whatever is wrong. This obsession with goods
and riches results in greed. With all of his wealth, everyman does not share with
the poor, so his possessions have made him blind for his reckoning.
Another one of Everyman s flaws is that Everyman doesn t put his trust in
God and into himself or his attributes. Instead, he seeks comfort and help from
Fellowship, Kindred and Cousin, and from his riches, but none want anything to
do with hi journey. It is not until these painful moments of realization that
Everyman recognizes some truths about life. He learns that he can find true
friends only within himself and through God.
The conclusion that has been brought up with Everyman s situation, is
that Everyman s main concern was for Goods, another character in the play, to
go along his journey of death. Goods does not go because materials are not
what make a person. The idea of heaven or hell is to see what kind of person
you really were throughout your life. Goods decided that he would not go with
Everyman on his journey because goods does not decide what sort of person
your are or were.
Everyman then realizes he needs to go to Good Deeds. When Good
Deeds hears Everyman s proposal, he refuses it. he takes note that Everyman
has not done very many good deeds in his life. Good Deeds leads Everyman to
Confession. As he meets with Confession, he confesses all of his bad deeds to
the priest, which we know holds the key sacraments to salvation. Everyman is
forgiven. Everyman then descends with Good Deeds into a grave, where the
angels welcome him and tell him hi reckoning is clear. Therefore, realizes that
materialistic things only last in our lifetime, but your good deeds will always be
with you, especially at your hour of death, this being the moral of the story.