In "Everyman", the character of Death comes to Everyman and demands that he embark on a "long journey" that is repeatedly called a "pilgrimage". Discuss the significance of this term in the play.
Discuss the significance of the "pilgrimage" in the play
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A pilgrimage, to a faithful Christian in the Middle Ages, was a sacred voyage from one’s everyday life and routine to a sacred place, usually a church where the powers of saints were strongest (because of the presence of relics, etc.) The actual journey itself was arduous and (as in Chaucer’s depiction) not so much solitary and meditative as it was a bustling collection of travelers with diverse motives, for whom the “holy destination” was merely an excuse to “do business”, or to carouse. The difference between a pilgrimage and just any old journey was the stated (if hypocritical) motive. The anonymous writer of “Everyman”, by referring to Everyman’s journey as a “pilgrimage”, is reminding the audience that our journey through Life is also supposed to be a “pilgrimage” to a holy place—Heaven (specifically, in the presence of God)—and that along the way we may have forgotten that motive, and succumbed to the temporary pleasures of the world. Like our looks, friends, etc., all our “companions” will desert us and we will take the final steps in our pilgrimage alone, except for the Good Deeds we performed along the way.
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