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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Anonymous, ''Everyman'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"All earthly things is but vanity: Beauty, Strength, and Discretion do man forsake, Foolish friends and kinsmen, that fair spake, All fleeth save Good-Deeds, and that I am."

Good-Deeds was the only one to make the complete pilgrimage with Everyman. Nothing that you have or accomplish in life will matter in the end so much as one's good deeds. But, just as in Everyman, no good deed goes unpunished. Even the few charitable acts that traveled with Everyman came with some consequence. Though Good-Deeds brought Everyman Beauty, Strength, Discretion, and Five-Wits, all abandoned him in the end. Everyman was rewarded for his good deeds, but in the end he was punished when all of his vanities left him to Death. It made me think of the Broadway musical, Wicked, when Elphaba sings, "One question haunts and hurts, too much, too much to mention. Was I really seeking good? Or just seeking attention? Is that all good deeds are when looked at with an ice-cold eye? If that's all good deeds are, then maybe that's the reason why no good deed goes unpunished...."

Comments (1)

How serious can we say the punishment is, when you consider how the play ends? Yes he dies, but that will happen to all of us eventually, whether we are vain or not. The important thing is where Everyman ends up.

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