Everyman is a play that is based on the complacency of Everyman, who is ironically informed of his imminent end by Death. The play depicts the evolution of a hero from fear of death and despair to a Christian resigned lifestyle. Everyman is deserted by everything he depended on upon in the play which was ideally the material wealth and friends he harbored. The play depicts the social reality during the medieval period, and the play befits the claim that literature reflects the current status of any society. The anonymous writer used drama to pass significant religious and moral lessons that can be adopted by any contemporary society.
The play context during the medieval period means that religion was an integral part of the life of every individual. Church was a significant aspect of every human being, and there were widespread debates on salvation. Notably, religion was a dominant point of discussion as people started appreciating the need for living a morally upright lifestyle, which explains the motivation behind the play. The main gospel was to inform people to let go their sinful nature, characterized by the lust for material wealth as shown by the life transformation of Everyman in the play. The ultimate goal was to ensure such people enjoy salvation even after death by upholding Christian virtues during their days on earth.
On the history and performance dramatic aspect, the writer adopts the allegory literary device and crucial Christian needs to dramatize religious themes making Everyman qualify as a typical medieval period play. Everyman dramatizes how the lack of morality and possessing a weak character is a standard character for every Christian in the past and current lifetimes. Just as Everyman was called upon to give an account of his, moral status through vices and sins on one hand and virtues on the hand, a typical Christian is subject to the same task. Similar to a majority of the ordinary person that upholds material possession, Everyday pins his hopes of surviving on things such as Wit, Strength, Beauty, Knowledge, and Kinship. Unfortunately, these earthly possessions do not rescue Everyman and is forced to confess his sins and embrace good deeds. The decision is a significant moral lesson for any person who is confused by their earthy exploits at the expense of their moral status.
The Everyday play adopts a moral tone that brings the significance of upholding good deeds in our earthly stay to avoid regrets after death. Everyday religious redemption through moral changes is an example of how good deeds will matter in the long term more than our capabilities. Concisely, Everyday starts as a morally challenged man committing sins, which will later call for him to repent to fulfill a spiritual feeling. Despite the material possession that Everyday had, it is only good deeds that mattered in the end. Therefore, as a society that has the option to adopt right or wrong deeds, it is wise to follow the former and live a virtues life.
Everyman is a reflection of the ideal Catholic belief that for one to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, their deeds should be good. The play became successful during its time due to its emotional, colorful and populist message stage presence. Additionally, the narration of the play is an allegory that creates every important aspect characters in the life of Everyman. Despite Everyman’s rejection by Kindred, Fellowship, Cousins, and Goods, the play does not term all these relationships antithetical or irrelevant for the existence of a real Christian. In fact, Kindred, Cousin, and Fellowship are entirely sympathetic features though they desert Everyman at his death point. Notably, this abandonment reflects the way every person fears their death. In this case, Goods is representing the materialistic and shallower nature of Everyman and therefore receives a worse light depiction compared to the other items in the play. Although Everyman does not criticize the protagonist’s relationship with human beings, the play illustrates that what matters most is one’s self-understanding and their relationship with God, and that leads to salvation.
It is intriguing that the way to the judgment of Everyman does not come through faith justification but instead through his Good Deeds strength and the truthfulness of his confession, a staunch Catholic notion legitimate for the play’s composition time.
Everyman’s loss of his personal characteristics inclusive of-of his Discretion, Five Wits, Strength and Beauty is a reflection of the human beings aging process. Health and physical appearance fade when death shows up. Similarly, Knowledge leaves Everyman even though it is his confession knowledge and eventually that of God which gives way to the salvation of Everyman. The audience is reminded by Everyman of the medieval Catholic Church path to God. The metaphorical tale converts the whole audience into protagonists, disregarding gender and class with an aim of proving when all humans stand before God for judgment, they are equal and for the salvation journey, the good deeds of an individual matter most.