Essay by filiagrUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2005

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Survey of English Literature I

Kachramani Filia

Professor : Dr.Zengos


Everyman is a medieval morality play written near the end of the 15th century by an anonymous author. The morality plays were created in the bosom of the church, and their main purpose was didactic, that is, to instruct every individual in the Christian way of life and the Christian attitude towards death, so that he or she could save their soul. In order to stress that everyone is entitled to salvation, the plays were based on a representative figure called "Everyman", who represents all men in their journey through life towards death, so that the audience could easily identify with him. However, to facilitate the communication of these moral lessons to the audience, the play is written in a rather simplistic way, so that they would be imprinted in the mind of the audience, which at the time were unsophisticated and illiterate.

Therefore, a modern reader may consider Everyman to be a boring play, since it is simplistic, repetitious and predictable, but at the same time its plot is well structured, meaning that it has an exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and a resolution.

The play's original audience understood the role of religion in their lives and believed in the reality of heaven and hell, and thus they were able to relate to the religious and ethical concerns presented for every Christian individual, but since the play addressed common, unsophisticated, and illiterate people, it had to be presented in a rather straightforward way, with a simple plot, conveying clear-cut messages in common language, so that the audience would be able to identify with Everyman, and the moral would have a greater impact on its audience.

Everyman, who is immersed in worldly pleasures, when Death calls him...