The Intentions of writing the play EVERYMAN

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The intentions and message of Everyman

Christina Christodoulou

The play Everyman is thought to be written in the fifteenth century. Everyman closely resembles an older Flemish play and may only be a translation whereas "Elckerlijc" is seen as more advanced than its later version. More advanced in language, that is and not in the expression of religious views. This theory leads to question the intentions of the original playwright and how effectively the message has been delivered through the performances.

We know that the play of Everyman was written and originally performed in the Middle Ages. Throughout these medieval times, there was much poverty and low sanitation, which lead to huge numbers of sick people and a very high death rate. People in those times were very unhappy, hopeless and depressed, as they knew that their death was not far down the line. The church in the medieval period held great religious and political power and had a lot of influence on the people of society.

The fear of sin, hell and the devil were socially common and the church stressed that living a "Godly life" should be the top priority of everyone. Therefore, many of the plays of that time were biblical plays; stories of heaven, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to provide a sense comfort in death for the people that were close to their own death and the death of their loved ones. The moral or miracle play was a popular type of play in those times because of the positive effect it had on people.

In Everyman, the main character, Everyman is told by a messenger from the heavens that he will have to face death soon and he must prepare his account of his physical life on earth. Everyman turns to...