Morality And Life In Everyman English Literature Essay

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In the play Everyman the reader is challenged from the beginning of the play to evaluate morality and life as it pertains to moral living. The play was very applicable during the medieval period because people were consumed with living life and conducting business. The play strikes right to the heart of every citizen of the medieval period as a representation of the fact that, anyone can lose sight of death and judgement. From the outset of the play the messenger brings warning and awareness to Everyman of his deeds and choices in life that are judged and rewarded accordingly. This is evident in the line, "You think sin in the beginning full sweet, which in the end causeth the soul to weep." This very thought is one very applicable to our society today because for every action taken there is either a positive or negative consequence that results from a single choice. The messenger also points out that there will be a reckoning day in which Everyman must face God, and give an account for deeds done. There is also God in the play that expresses His sheer disappointment in the fact that people have forgotten Him, and chose sin over Him. God makes the reference to the cross and the price that was paid for many, and yet still He is forgotten. Here the reader is drawn into the contemplation of such a precious price that was paid for sin, and that the only way a perfect God's wrath could be satisfied was in a perfect blood sacrifice. This is seen in the line, "They forget clean, and shedding of my blood red, I hanged between the two, it cannot be denied, to get then life I suffered to die." The reader also senses the pain that God feels even after paying such a price that He might still be forgotten, and material earthly riches are chosen over Him. Another application that people or Christians during the medieval period may have taken from this play is the reminder of the seven sacraments which were, baptism, conformation, eucharist, penitence, holy orders or marriage and extreme unction.

Death is summoned by God to search out everyman and serve the purpose in which he was created, and it is here where so much of the morality of the play is brought forth. When approached by death then Everyman is puzzled and becomes scared for his life and the deeds which he has done, and the price that must be paid for his transgressions. It is at this point in the play where the reader is no doubt made aware of his or her own life and the choices and responsibility for those actions. At first Everyman asks for more time, which is an expected response for most in our society today. Everyman is desiring greatly to undo his misdeeds, and this is obvious in the line, "For all unready is my book of reckoning, but twelve year and I might have a biding, my counting-book I would make so clear." There is a distinct parallel at this point that reflects a similar situation. The movie of our society today watched during the Christmas season called, "A Christmas Carol" comes to mind. Scrooge is an old man who is visited by three spirits and shown the choices of long past, and there consequences. Scrooge like everyman desires greatly for another chance to make right what he has done wrong and goes through very similar pains and regrets as the reader observes in "Everyman." He experiences deep despair and anguish and a companion called Fellowship greets him in his misery. Fellowship offers him temporary relief, but when he finds that death is his destiny will not stay. The next encounter is with Cousin who seems to offer Everyman some comfort, but he too is not desiring to go with him on his journey using a stumped toe for his excuse. Here the reader is made aware that in ones walk in this life there are trials and tribulations that must be taken alone. Everyman even suggests that his goods might keep him company to meet death, and as the others Goods has no business in such matters. Here we might remember the saying, "You can't take it with you when you go." As the play progresses Everyman is overcome with more grief and sorrow, and calls out for the Good Deeds he has done to give him comfort in such a time. There is no doubt in ones time of suffering people in our society today use even rationalization to comfort them in their despair. One might say, I might have done this, but that's not as bad as what he or she did.

Knowledge is the next companion to find Everyman, and from this Confession is the result. Everyman is broken to call upon God and ask for forgiveness at this point, and a contrite heart is the subject that comes to the forefront. From here Everyman is able to finally rejoice in the fact that God is love, and able to forgive, and here is where Strength, and Beauty are found. Five Wits is the character who brings much to Everyman's attention of priesthood and accepting death as unavoidable. In our society today we also relate to this in the Christian's life dying is part of living. Everyman finally comes to an understanding of his position and has more peace with himself and his destination. After God hears his cry for mercy he finds comfort and relief in forgiveness and accepts his unavoidable future. There is for the reader of this play a personal application in some ways in that, a person's choices will always have consequences and choices have to be delt with. Living with the decisions we make is not always easy, and therefore should be considered before they are made. There is another saying that is, if the price for sin could be paid before-hand there would be much less sin in the world. For every individual this will have a different, but similar application in life. This play literally draws the reader into a vivid sense of reality about life. He uses imagery so well here that it actually puts the reader into his position, and is able to make comparisons in his or her own life. This is seen in other plays and poems, but this expresses every aspect of human emotion so vividly that it intrigues the reader to desire more. The allegorical significance of this play is in the way each of the characters acts within the meaning of each ones name. This contributes greatly to the emotions and actions o Everyman, and delivered a strong lesson to those of the medieval period as well as our society today.