In the play Everyman, personification is used to show how Everyman (every man) can enter the kingdom of heaven after death. When Everyman tries to convince his other friends to join him or help him through death, only Good-Deeds follows him to the afterlife. His other friends, Strength, Discretion, Five-Wits, Beauty, Fellowship, Knowledge, Cousin, and Kindred, all abandon him in his time of need.
Good-Deeds: Nay, Everyman, I will bide with thee,
I will not forsake thee indeed;
Thou shalt find me a good friend at need.
Everyman: Gramercy, Good–Deeds; now may I true friends see;
They have forsaken me every one;
I loved them better than my Good-Deeds alone.
Knowledge, will ye forsake me also?
This play is used to spread the Christian message that only a person’s good deeds will carry them to heaven. Everything else is part of this world, such as beauty, knowledge, and strength.
In addition, there is repeated reference to “Charity” or “Saint Charity.” As God mentions:
For now one would by envy another up eat;
Charity they all do clean forget.
In this line, God is discussing how the Everyman has forgotten about Charity. The play also ends with:
That we may live body and soul together.
Thereto help the Trinity,
Amen, say ye, for saint Charity.
Charity is often defined as deep kindness. Therefore, it would make sense that Good-deeds caused the Everyday man to heaven. It’s interesting how the play makes the distinction of the two characters. The play claims that Good-deeds (good deeds) lead to Saint Charity (charity), in both a literal and metaphorical sense.
Source: Everyman (Anonymous)