Everyman-a Medieval Play Review

Topics: Middle Ages, Late Middle Ages, It Was Written Pages: 8 (2963 words) Published: December 12, 2010
A Review of “The Summoning of Everyman”

Summary Everyman is a play which was written to express the importance of morality, to whoever read it or experienced it being performed on stage. Some scholars say that it was written sometime in the late 1400’s, while others insist that it is a translation of a Flemish work called “Elckerlijc”, which was written by Peter van Diest in 1495. Everyman is an allegory play which is heavily based upon Christian religious perspectives; also it is resoundingly similar to the Christian belief of the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension into Heaven, after the crucifixion. The first act of Everyman, opens with a prologue which takes on the form of a messenger, telling the audience about the fate which is to come to Everyman. The messenger goes on to tell the audience that eventually God will call upon all of humanity to stand before him, and give account of their works which they had wrought in life. The next part of the play is God calling upon Death, to go and bring Everyman to stand before him. God commands Death to go and bring Everyman before him, so that he may give account of his own misdeeds that he has wrought in life. So Death goes and finds Everyman, and tells him that his time has come. Everyman then attempts to bribe Death with a thousand pounds, but Death refuses. However, he states that he will allow Everyman to bring someone with him, so that he does not have to face his judgment alone. Everyman first goes to Fellowship, whom represents friends and companions; and asks him to accompany him to go and stand before the judgment God. Fellowship, whom had promised to stand besides Everyman through whatever may come; tells Everyman that he will not go with him to the grave, because he fears Death and the judgment of God. Everyman is heartbroken, but then goes on to the next in line. Everyman then goes to Kindred and Cousin, which are supposed to represent family and kin; but they too tell him that they will not accompany him on his way to the grave. Thirdly, Everyman turns to Goods, which represents material possessions; nonetheless she also states that she will not go with Everyman to his final judgment. Everyman is very concerned by this point, and so he turns to Good Deeds for companionship. Good Deeds states that she will go with Everyman to face his judgment with him; but unfortunately she lacks the strength for such a journey, because Everyman has neglected her throughout his life. Good Deeds tells Everyman that he must then go before her sister, Knowledge; for she will know the way in which Good Deeds may regain strength. Upon meeting Knowledge, she tells Everyman that he must go before Confession; and there Everyman confesses his sins. Afterward, Confession gives Everyman a “jewel” called Penance; which cleanses Everyman of his sins, so that he may stand before God and not be in jeopardy of damnation. With his confession behind him, Good Deeds regains his strength, and is ready to accompany Everyman to the grave. Knowledge then tells Everyman to gather together his attributes of life: Beauty, Strength, Discretion, and Five Wits; so that they too may accompany him to his reckoning with God. But when Everyman gathers them together, they tell him that they will not go with him to the grave; essentially because they are all characteristics of youth, which are all now fleeting from him, as he has the end of life. With that, Knowledge, and Good Deeds accompany Everyman to his final reckoning with God. There enters the character Angel; Knowledge then attests to Angel that Everyman was a good and just person, and in the end, he confessed his sins before God. Then Everyman and Good Deeds go down into the grave, and thus make their way to stand before God in the final judgment of Everyman. Fundamentally, this play ends with the character, Doctor, stating that all accept Good Deeds and Knowledge will all flee from a...
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