Everyman: Allegory and Good Deeds

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Allegory is a form in which objects, people and actions are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious, or political significance and characters are often personifications of abstract ideas such as charity, knowledge, or death. Thus, the allegory is a narrative in which the characters and action have two levels of meaning. It must make sense at both levels. All of the literal pieces must be suitable to tell a story, and all the symbolic pieces must fit together to teach a moral. Everyman is a dramatized allegory. In the play Everyman is the allegorical figure of every man, he represents all mankind. He is summoned by the allegorical figure of death to a journey to God. Here, the first level of meaning is literal; a man is going on a trip, the second level is symbolic; Everyman’s life is a journey from birth to death, it’s a journey to his final reckoning. He represents all mankind because every man makes this same trip. God sends Death to summon him. Death is the means by which man finally meets God. Everyman is shocked when he arrives. Like most man, Everyman is unprepared for death and seeks extra time. In this respect, he is like all men, who would ask for time to make final plans. Also in this play God appears as a character. God represents salvation. The focus is how religion and belief in God will help man overcome any difficulties, including death. The play shows us not only how every man should meet death, but also how every man should live. Along the way Everyman tries to convince other characters to accompany him. The other characters are also allegorical, each character personifies an abstract idea like Fellowship, Kindred and Cousin, Goods, Good Deeds, Knowledge, Beauty, Strength, Five Wits. In his time of need he is deserted by his companions and wealth. He loses his Fellowship, Kindred, Cousin, and Goods. He also loses Beauty, Strength, Discretion and...
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