September 25, 2005


Anonymous, ''Everyman'' -- Drama as Literature (EL 250)

GOD: I perceive, here in my majesty,
How that all creatures be to me unkind,
Living without dread in worldly prosperity:
Of ghostly sight the people be so blind,
They use the seven deadly sins damnable,
As pride, covetise, wrath, and lechery
Now in the world be made commendable;
Every man liveth so after his own pleasure,
The worse they be from year to year.
They thank not me for the pleasure that I to them meant,
Nor yet for their being that I have them lent.
They be so cumbered with worldly riches
That needs on them I must do justice,
On every man living without fear.
Where art thou, Death, thou mighty messenger?

These opening lines from God are indicative of the inevitable: death is inescapable for every man. At some point, we all share a common history: we are all born and we all die. From the moment we begin to breath, we begin to die. At the time we die, we are all faced with a recollection of the pasts it is a time for God to make a judgment on the quality of our lives: it is almost as if we are revisiting our past sins in order to segue into the future: our life eternal. All men suffer the same temptations in life, as well as succumb to the same sins. No man can escape death, or this day of judgment. Perhaps in the play form, the lines are delivered as more of a warning: dont succumb to vice: practice virtue.

Death is not absent in the stratified classes, death does not heed pay offs, death does not go unreckoned: it forces the life from every person, but every person is responsible for accounting for ones own life and ones own works. The work also rectifies the value of people and the value of riches in life: friends, as well as goods, are fleeting and only belonging to our mortal lives. In George Straits Youll Be There, he sings, I aint ever seen a Hurst with a luggage rack. Much like Everyman, the rationalization comes that in life, you can be a slave to your possessions, but they will not enter into the heavenly realm or tomb, with you upon death. One might work work work for certain things, but investing time and interest in these earthly things yields no profitable returns. It is made evident to Everyman the important components of a life well lived: strength, discretion, beauty, knowledge for these are seemingly the main ingredients in a recipe for a happy life. However, in death these qualities flee the mortal body. In order to have a life of value to present to God, it is good deeds that are imperative to Everyman. Good deeds speak louder than any earthly vanity of man.

Posted by KatieAikins at September 25, 2005 8:06 PM

I liked what you said Katie. This play does have a warning. In the begining of the play, Dr. Jerz wrote in his footnotes that plays like this was performed in church services in medieval times. Since coomon people can't read the Bible it's definetly reason to have that kind of play. Now, when you talk about good deeds, you're right, it does speak louder than any earthly vanity of man. But I don't think good deeds alone will put you in a state of grace, it faith that you have in God will.

Posted by: Kevin Hinton at October 2, 2005 4:42 PM


I agree with you. Faith, coupled with good deeds, are pathways to grace. Did you enjoy this play?

Posted by: Katie Aikins at October 2, 2005 7:38 PM

I know this play made me feel like a bad human being. I do feel that the play reflected on how people act and how they should be acting in life.

Posted by: Rachel Prichard at October 2, 2005 8:10 PM

I like the play, and indeed I have, due to your blog and other comments, understand the play

Posted by: KevinHinton at October 2, 2005 10:38 PM

Totally agree.
even our best righteous deeds are defiled with selfish desires and motives. Jesus Christ is also required, above and beyond.

Posted by: Gary at October 28, 2005 8:36 AM