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Everyman & Seventh Seal Comparison

By brunino26 Apr 17, 2013 707 Words

November 6th 2012

Comparison Between Dramatic Works Everyman and Seventh Seal

The fifteenth century play Everyman explores the journey of a man, who represents the

individuals of mankind, who is confronted by the inevitability of his own death. Very similarly, Antonius

Block is portrayed during the fourteenth century bubonic plague, and is confronted by death on

reoccurring occasions. During the events of the two dramatic pieces, the two protagonists visit many

similar and different circumstances while figuring out solutions to their crisis. It is clear that historically,

it has had an impact on the outcomes of the play.

First of all, it is intended to be clear that morality is inducted as a major aspect of the plays. In

Everyman, an ordinary man is made to face his duty in life. His confrontation comes from a dialogue

with Death to distinguish if he is ready to die. Of course, “thou comest when I had thee least in mind,”

and he is not ready. Everyman seeks camaraderie on a dangerous journey, but is abandoned by

allegorical figures like Goods, Knowledge, Kindred etc. He soon finds out the only thing that remains are

Good Deeds, and that is the only important thing to be accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven. In

Bergman’s Seventh Seal, Antonius Block is visited by Death in a form of a chess game, which was

inspired by the painting,Taby Kyrka. Both plays foreshadow their inevitable death as it is being delayed

by the protagonists to provide one last good measure. For instance, Everyman understands he is going

to die, he just wanted to provide one last deed to cleanse his soul, and Antonius understands it as well,

but he is just delaying it. In the end both provide their promise as Everyman is ready to die, and

Antonius knocks over the pieces so Jof and Mia could escape death, as he accepts his own.

Secondly, the historical context has had a major role on the development on both plays. In

Everyman’s case, it was written in the late 15th century which deals with; the Fall of Constantinople, the

100 years war, and the Great Fall, which would all follow into Christian Humanism. This attitude

influenced the Western European society and people started writing more about God, and the human

perception on afterlife. Morality in the play is shown to convey a Christian message and shows him

trying to save his soul to reach salvation, and promote the sacraments to others. During this time period

Christians believed they had some responsibility and control over the afterlife. Catholics were mainly

trying to promote what’s important and forget about the superficial items on Earth. On the other hand,

Seventh Seal is referred to the Book of Revelation, and it’s stated in the film, “And when the Lamb had

opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” (Revelation 8:1).

Seventh Seal was a Swedish film shot in 1957 set during the Black Death and is portrayed in a very

accurate way. The story is mainly supposed to represent four recipes for catastrophe which include

death, famine, war, and plague, which is evidently shown throughout the progression of the play. When

Antonius is confronted by Death, he challenges him to a chess game to delay the inevitable. This helps

represent mans endless conflict with God as we struggle with not important goods. It shows people

dying of the plague and people giving themselves up as a way to repent because of their incapability to

believe in God

Both plays are portraying an overall theme that shows everyone will soon come to their demise, it is

important that we focus on what is important to achieve salvation, and forget what isn’t to avoid

obstacles. We are surrounded by temptations materialistic goods, but that is only temporary happiness.

People must strive for overall happiness for the eternal life. Both plays strongly present this in an

accurate manner, share a very similar theme, while showing death can appear in different ways. Death

does not make its presence known in reality, but it does come to everyone and different fashions

randomly, therefore the only things Catholics can do is prepare for judgement.

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