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: don’t 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 one’s own life and one’s 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 Strait’s “You’ll Be There,” he sings, “I ain’t 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