Everyman is the best surviving example of the medieval drama known as a morality play. It displays the classic conflict between Death and Everyman in view of traditional Christian beliefs. Everyman represents the typical man in struggle with sin and good deeds. Everyman portrays a complacent man who is informed by Death of his approaching end. Everyman realizes that he has led an immoral, unethical life and is frightened by his lack of good deeds. His shortcomings, accompanied by his overwhelming sins bring him to fear death, for death brings certain damnation. As Death tells Everyman that it is time to leave the world and be judged, the fear grows within Everyman and he begins to plead for a second chance. Therefore, Death can be interpreted, out of the compassion and mercy of God, as a last and final opportunity for Everyman to repent and see the truth. Luke 2:26: “And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” From the story, one can infer that nobody is actually prepared when the first signs of death are noticeable.
When encountered by Death, Everyman says that his “book of reckoning” is not ready. This is used to portray another biblical concept in which the good deeds and sins of an unsaved person must be presented to God in order to be judged. John 5:24: “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Hebrews 10:17: “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Everyman realizes that he will have to be alone in death, as nobody will be going with him, and that ultimately his wealthy possessions will be useless to him. He calls upon his Knowledge, and Good-Deeds to walk with him and counsel him to his grave. They assist him in writing his Book of Accounts, but in the end, it is Good Deeds that accompany him to his grave. For Everyman, his good deeds are overshadowed by his sins, and he realizes that he lived a life of iniquity. According to scriptures, one must not only live a righteous life, but he must also profess God’s word and repent one’s sins.
Romans 10:10: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.” The play makes its grim point that we can take with us from this world nothing that we have received; only what we have given. Revelation 22:12: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Everyman is symbolic of the entire human race; he is ultimately saved by his acceptance of death and his final repentance. One must not fear death, because it is simply the transition of one form to another. Micah 7:9: “I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.”
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