Type: Literary Analysis
Pages: 6 | Words: 1680
Reading Time: 7 Minutes

This paper focuses on the author’s perception of death and treatment of the death of the play, Everyman. Everyman is a morality. Everyman is a story that demonstrates the value of life and death and is used as a spiritual message from God to man. The subject of death in the play is related to the search for the reasoning of life. Death is viewed differently in different cultures and it tends to influence a person’s character within a group. The journey to death is linked with life’s values, morals, and experiences, though each person’s reactions to death differ.

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Everyman is the central character in the play and he represents mankind and their experiences in life until the Day of Judgment. Everyman has to bear consequences for his actions in the face of Death. Death, who is another main character in the play, is sent to earth by God to judge Everyman. Death is also an allegorical character as he appears as a human being. In the play, Death is a reminder to Everyman that he has to pay for his good and bad actions that he has committed throughout his life.

However, through God’s grace, he has a second chance to reevaluate his life and make corrections where he went wrong. God is able to bring Everyman to repentance and salvation through the use of Death. Death continues to restore Everyman’s memory of the actual system of values. Death is used to illustrate that good deeds and repentance will bring eternity. The author also uses Death to show that facing one’s destiny is inevitable, regardless of one’s actions in one life. People have no choice when it comes to death. This essay demonstrates that death is one of the few things that we cannot evade in our lives.

Perception of Death in Everyman Play Analysis

At first, God becomes upset with Everyman because he concentrates on the search for material wealth. Therefore, God sends Death to Everyman to convey a message that his life is coming to an end. “…Go thou to Everyman, And show him in my name, A pilgrimage he must on him take…” In reaction, Everyman tries to bribe Death with material possessions but Death refuses. Death has no value for material possessions and it is unavoidable. Death is viewed in a negative way because Everyman was trying to bribe Death so that he could evade it. Death informs Everyman that the decision is inevitable.

“……everyman I arrest and no man spare, for it is God’s commandment that all to me should be obedient.” He asks if he can come back to earth once, he gives his account to God. He is told it is not possible once he has lived on earth. This demonstrates that one has only one chance to live. Everyman resolves to muster friends so that they can accompany him during his journey so that he does not face judgment alone.

When Good Deeds convinces her sister to accompany Everyman, they go to meet Confession. Confession offers Everyman a penance if he repents his sins. Everyman seeks forgiveness from God in the presence of Confession. This way, he punishes himself with a scourge. After this, Confession proclaims that Everyman is forgiven of his sins, and consequently, Good Deeds becomes comfortable and strong enough to accompany Everyman on his journey.

Finally, Everyman gets into his grave and Good Deeds is the only one who accompanies him to eternity. This shows that all other qualities of the person fade out, except for his good deeds. Everyman also fears Death so much that he repents his sins so that when he goes to give an account of his life, God will have forgiven him.

Death is also perceived as the cause of loneliness and alienation, as no one wants to be associated with death. Everyman convinces his friends and family to accompany him on his journey, but none of them is willing. He is ready to enjoy his life on earth; however, the idea of Death is still deeply rooted in his mind. This illustrates that Everyman will eventually face judgment alone since neither of his family, friends, or material possessions will come to his rescue. For instance, when Everyman goes to Fellowship, which represents companions and friends, he requests Fellowship to accompany him through his journey to judgment.

Through Fellowship had promised to stand beside Everyman when faced with any circumstance, Fellowship declines Everyman’s request. Fellowship says that he fears the judgment of God. This shows the extent to which death is feared. Everyman feels that he needs a companion to face God’s judgment. However, everyone declines his request and he is left alone. Everyman becomes brokenhearted and goes to look for help elsewhere.

Therefore, the earthly possessions and the physical body are left to the world upon Everyman’s death. The material goods, Everyman’s cousin, Kindred, and Fellowship represent the worldly things. After not all his friends and family came to his rescue, Everyman decides to rely on himself. Although he receives some good advice from each person, he realizes that they will not take him far in his journey to give an account of his life to God.

Everyman realizes that Death is inevitable and he becomes so afraid. As a result, he decides to do right. Nevertheless, Good Deeds cannot accompany him to Death because he has rejected Good Deeds for all those years. Good Deeds lacks motivation and strength due to a long time of abandonment and neglect. However, Good Deeds requests the sister Knowledge to accompany Everyman. It is at this point that Everyman seeks forgiveness of his sins and as a result, Good Deeds gains strength and accompanies Everyman up to eternity.

Death is also perceived to carry out God’s plan and conviction for humankind. Everyman has been living his life his own way. God wanted to make him realize and see his purpose, so he calls in Death to execute his will. Death crushes our best hopes and ends our plans and dreams. Everyman becomes convinced that he is going to die. Everyman declares, “…….Oh God in Heaven, have mercy on me.” When Everyman sees Death, he realizes he cannot run away from him.

What Is the Author’s Perception of Death in Everyman?

Everyman also perceives Death as undeniable. He treats Death as something one can and should expect. The author uses Death as an allegory of physical death to help us visualize the invisible idea. Death often subjects people to fear and causes an enormous deal of anxiety. Though the fear of death is common among people, the author illustrates that God has the power to control death and uses it to bring people back to Him. It is a condition that humans have to undergo and plan for eternity. Therefore, the Five Wits, Discretion, Strength, and Beauty accompany Everyman as he goes to face Death. These are meant to give Everyman the strength to face Death. They cannot accompany him to eternity, however. Before he dies, Everyman receives his last sacrament, which signifies rituals that the Catholics conduct.

The character of Death is also viewed as submissive to God’s commands. The characteristics of Death are portrayed as those of a human’s physical death. Merely, Death is a carrier and a messenger for God. “[h]ere beginneth a treatise how the High Father of Heaven sendeth Death to summon every creature……” Death is sent to Everyman to tell him that he must give an account of his life. Death conveys all the information to Everyman as he was sent by God without altering anything. Thus, Death is perceived as being obedient to God’s commands. God is seen as the controller of everything and as the lone authority. God uses death to usher people into eternity.

Death is also portrayed as abrupt and unexpected. Everyman is in distress when Death shows up. This is because he does not have a ready account of his life. “Death’s visit troubles him.” Everyman even goes to the extent of weeping but Death will not let him go. He even tries to bribe Death and also begs for more time so as to prepare himself. Death declines Everyman’s requests, but finally allows Everyman to look for someone to accompany him to speak of his good virtues in the time of judgment. The thought of Death troubles Everyman as he finds himself unprepared.

However, despite Everyman’s sinful nature, God is still merciful and gives him a chance to repent his sins. No one can avoid the Day of Judgment. When the moment strikes, Everyman will be judged according to his actions. After Everyman’s friends and family decline to accompany him in his journey to judgment, he turns to his worldly goods with no better fortune. In fact, the goods assure him that they could only lead him to hell. But still, after all this, Everyman goes to Confession and he repents his sins. Even though he suffers physical punishment for his sins, God forgives him and Good Deeds gains strength to accompany him.

Summary of Everyman Play

In conclusion, Death is perceived from a Catholic point of view in the play. The objective of eternal life in heaven sets up the tone of the play. Everyman illustrates that everyone has to be saved before death so as to attain eternal life. Death is a spiritual journey with God to heaven. Every man is held responsible for his own actions in life upon facing judgment. In addition, the only way to evade death is to strive towards attaining everlasting life and through living a Godly life by avoiding the seven deadly sins. The play brings out the issue of Christian faith.

Though death is inevitable and people have no control over it, Christianity offers an eternal option. For one to acquire eternal life, they have to repent their sins and walk in Godly ways. Death is also brought out as a consequence of sin. Death becomes the only way to usher people into eternity and, at the same time, making them accountable for their deeds in their lives. Therefore, this play depicts that eternity depends on one’s good deeds in life.

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