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The Author’s Perception and Treatment of Death in Everyman

Introduction

“Everyman” can be regarded as a morality play, which is set as an allegorical drama that portrays how Christians are supposed to live and the efforts that they ought to make in order to save their lives. “Everyman”can also be considered as an unusual drama since it portrays a protagonist who is dying in the entire play. Written during the late 1400’s, “Everyman” was originally known as “The Summoning of Everyman.” However, it has changed over the years, and it is now known as “Everyman.” The author’s perception and treatment of death emanates from the psychological insight that he has about death. The author views death as an experience that should allow people to learn while dying is presented as a process in the entire play (Frohman, 2004).

The author’s perception and treatment of death

In “Everyman”, the author personifies death by treating it like a human character, which acts as God’s agent that pays a visit to Everyman, the protagonist. The use of death as a character by the author serves to indicate that every person will face death one day. Therefore, the author strives to portray that death is an inevitable occurrence, in the life of human beings. In the play, the character of Death acts as the antagonist and can be regarded as a representation of physical death, which occurs among human beings. The use of death in the play by the author represents some form of reality, which every human being has to face. The author uses the phenomenon of death to attract the readers of the play. The author perceives death to be controlled by God and as an event that convicts everyone whom it visits (Cooper, 1992).

The author perceives and treats death as submissive to the command and the will of God. Therefore, the author presents death as obedient to the demands and commands that God makes. The author perceives the features of Death as similar to the characteristics that the physical death of humans portrays. In the play, the author presents death as a messenger of God sent to summon people to account for the way they live. Therefore, the author treats death as a transporter that works on behalf of God. God sends death to the earth so that people can account for the life they are living and why they choose it (Frohman, 2004).

The author of “Everyman” perceives death as the determinant of whether a human being can be regarded as good or bad. According to the author, good death can be said to happen when a person dies in peace with himself, his family members, neighbors, and friends. The opposite of a good death is what is referred as bad death, which includes a situation where a person dies while not at peace with those close to him. The author also perceives death as ambiguous since it is hard to express with certainty what takes place once a person dies. According to the author’s perception of death, the events that take place once a person dies cannot be explained based on any facts and evidence (Cooper, 1992).

The author perceives death as a stepping stone or means through which transition happens from an undesirable life to a life that a person hopes to live. According to the author, death can be considered as a natural state in human life. Since life has a beginning, which is birth, it also has an end that is characterized by death. The author perceives death as an event that deters people from doing wrong. This is because people fear that if they do wrong, the ultimate price of wrongdoing is death. Based on this, therefore, the author perceives death as an event that enhances the maintenance of stability, peace and order in society. The author also treats death as an event that ensures cohesion in society. As a result of death, there is always a feeling of togetherness, especially when people come together when mourning the death of a relative or a loved one. Thus, the argument of the author is a clear indication that death ensures that people behave in the best way possible (Davenport, 1984).

The author also perceives and treats death as God’s subordinate. Throughout the play, the author presents God as the one with authority while death is presented as a recipient of orders and command from God. Death works on behalf of God Almighty who controls all aspects of human life. Although there is hope in the resurrection of Jesus, people still have the fear of death. The author portrays death as a symbol used by God in order to welcome people into eternal life. Since the world is imperfect, God uses death as a way of welcoming people to his presence as a result of the rebellion that people have against God (Jennings, 1995).

The author perceives death as means of carrying out the will of God. As demonstrated in the play, the presence of death serves to carry out the convection as well as the will of God. Although Everyman used to live his life based on his own desires and what he planned, God brings death to carry out his will. In this case, the presentation of death by the author is an indication that human beings have to recognize and realize God’s plan for them. The author presents that death does not wait for anyone; in the play, it does not wait for Everyman. Human beings and other living creatures die because of the sin committed by Adam; in this case, Everyman can be regarded as Adam (Davenport, 1984).

The author’s perception of death also hinges on the presentation of death as an event that restricts the plans, desires, and dreams that people have. Death ends the hopes that people have and leaves them helpless. People cry out to God whenever they see death approaching. For example, Everyman calls unto God to have mercy on him. However, he realizes that there is nothing he can do when death approaches since he cannot run away from the reality that death will take him away from the world (Jennings, 1995).  

To some extent, the author perceives death as mediator between God and humans. For example, Death hints that Everyman can be saved despite the fact that he is obsessed with riches. This is portrayed when God tells Death to prepare Everyman for either hell or heaven by taking him on a pilgrimage. The author’s perception and treatment of death in the play can also be explained in relation to didactic ideology. This is because the author perceives death as an occurrence that can come when people least expect it to happen (Wheeler, 2012). Therefore, death teaches people that they should be prepared at all times because no one has an idea when death will come knocking at his or her door.

The author of “Everyman” perceives death as persistent and it torments everyone since it is not avoidable. Although Death is gone in the play, the rest of the characters know that he will come back for them. This portrays that death will come for everyone in order to ensure that every person is subjected to the final judgment. Therefore, the author treats death as a visitor who will come for people and ensure that all persons will be judged during the day of reckoning. Death is portrayed as an event that should teach people to live a good life on earth (Rosenberg, 2009). Death teaches people that apart from earthly life, there is another life that may either be promising or not. People live a promising life after death only when they live in accordance with the will of God. Death also teaches people that they should not ignore spiritual gains at the expense of material wealth. God does not consider material possessions as relevant (Wheeler, 2012).

In Everyman, the author perceives death as a phenomenon that many people hate since people do not like the idea that they will leave the world. If it is possible, people would wish to bribe death so that it does not take them away from earth (Rosenberg, 2009). However, death is not intimidated by the amount of influence, wealth, coercion, popularity, or persuasion that a person has. Death is not preventable when it wants to take away someone’s life.

Conclusion

While concluding, it is worth noting that the author of “Everyman” perceives death as inevitable and treats it as something that people will face. Death acts as God’s messenger and is sent to come and take away a person when the right time comes. Death works on behalf of God, and it follows his commands and fulfils his desire. Death brings solidarity in society when people get together while mourning a departed soul. The author categorizes life after death as either good or bad. The author also perceives death as a means of transition from the earthly life to another form of life, whereby the deceased may either go to heaven or hell.

Code: Sample20

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