At the beginning of the play, the messenger says that since every man will eventually be called to account before God, he should be careful of his actions from the very beginning of his life. The messenger explains that though evil may seem appealing at the time, in the end it will bring pain and ruin to the soul. The play which the audience is about to see is a moral play, one which will teach a lesson, for every man. The messenger says,
The Summoning of Everyman it is called so,
That of our lives and ending maketh show
How transitory we be every day...
Man, in the beginning
Watch well and take good heed of the ending
Be you never so gay!
Ye think sin in the beginning full sweet
Which, in the end, causeth the soul to weep...
For ye shall hear how our Heaven's King
Calleth Everyman to a general reckoning."
The messenger stresses that life is transitory, and that there is a lesson to be learned from the play about to be performed. It would behoove the audience to pay close attention.