What is the moral of Everyman?

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kimfuji | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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The story Everyman seeks to answer the important religious question: "What must a man do to be saved?" God sends Death to summon Everyman, who represents all mankind. Good and Evil will be tallied like pluses and minuses in an account book. The play is the story of Everyman's journey to this final reckoning. Along the way, Everyman tries to convince other characters to accompany him in the hope of improving his account. The other characters are also allegorical; that is, each character personifies an abstract idea. The conflict between good and evil is dramatized by the interactions between characters. The play shows us not only how every man should meet death but also how every man should live.

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andrewnightingale | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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The play is based on the Roman Catholic premise that salvation is attained through penance and good deeds - one must atone for one's sins before dying in order to receive everlasting life and enter heaven.

In the play Everyman (which obviously refers to every human) is visited by Death to take him to heaven where he is to face judgement. Obviously, Everyman feels that he is not ready and seeks to take with him all that he has accrued on earth to stand witness for his virtues. But one by one, all his earthly possessions forsake him, even his kindred. He cannot take his beauty, strength or fellowship with him. Good Deeds does not have the strength to accompany him since he has been neglected.

When Everyman sees Confession, he agrees to take penance and punish himself with a scourge. After doing this, he is forgiven all his sins. The result is that Good Deeds is revitalized and strong enough to accompany him.

The moral is firstly that one cannot enter heaven with earthly goods when one dies - these have no value and are left behind. Secondly, only the good that one does can bear witness to one's grace at Judgement, and thirdly, one should do penance and seek forgiveness for one's sins before entering the Kingdom of Heaven.   

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missobot | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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The moral of Everyman, is purely religious. It is saying that how a man lives his life, whether good or evil, he would be judged by God based on those deeds. All the material things in life cannot grant you salvation. The play is allegorical and uses personification also.

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