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Subtle? Yeah...Right.

Everyman: O Death thou comest when I had thee least in mind;
Anonymous, ''Everyman'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

Though there may be some symbolism, this play just screams allegory. All of the characters represent what their names suggest. God=God...Death=death...Everyman=every man ...Fellowship=friends...etc. Everything is pretty straightforward. Take the quote above, for instance. Though the Death that is mentioned is inherently the character, it stands for the event. Death always comes when man least expects it.


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Comments (6)

Yeah, it seems like this is hardly even an allegory. All the characters literally are the concepts that they're named after. I thought in allegory things are represented by things other than themselves. But then I guess it's impossible for an actor on a stage to literally "be" fellowship.

Chera Pupi:

An allegory doesn't have to be things that are represented by something other than themselves. As long as there are two levels of meaning (literal and symbolic) it is an allegory. But I agree with you Jennifer. Everything is very straightforward. Do you think that's a good thing, because you don't have to struggle to understand? Or would you rather it be a little more difficult and challenging? I'm kind of undecided. I guess we do need to keep in mind that this play was written for illiterate people who truly needed it to be easily understood.

I'm undecided as well. In some ways it is almost too obvious, but that was kind of the point of it, I guess. It was meant to teach a lesson. So, for that purpose, the easier it is to understand, the better.

Corey Struss:

It seems to me that it is so obvious that there almost has to be another meaning to it. Usually with stories that are this easy to understand, there are crazy subliminal meanings to it.

I like how the story is so straight forward, because it does so without being shallow. The only thing that is eating me is that it was so simple. Almost too simple.


Corey, think about what the purpose of the play was. Of course it was simple because the play was written for an audience of people who couldn't read the Bible themselves...so the beliefs of the church were passed on to people through plays like this one because they would be both entertaining and informative. They weren't trying to do anything especially tricky because they wanted the common people to understand and follow the church.


I agree with Corey. The story does seem almost too simple. I suppose that the story had to be kept simple so that the general medieval public could understand it though. I think the fact that the story is written in old English, although although slightly modernized in the version we read, helps it remain significant despite its simplicity. Can you imagine what the story would sound like if it were written by an author in today's society?

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