Is the drama Everyman a moral story?

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kimfuji eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This story is a morality play and tries 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. Because it shows how people should live, it is a moral story.

Everyman is a dramatized allegory. An allegory is a narrative in which the characters and action, and sometimes the setting as well, have two levels of meaning. The first level is literal -- a man is going on a trip. The second level is symbolic -- Everyman's life is a journey from birth to death, and every man makes this same trip. An allegory must make sense at both levels. All of the literal pieces will fit together to tell a story -- what happens. In addition, all of the symbolic pieces will fit together to teach a moral -- what the story means.

thewritingteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Everyman is a morality tale, meaning that the problems faced by the title character are common to all of humanity. How those issues are addressed is most often based in some moral code, so, yes, Everyman can be called a "moral story."

kithmperera | Student

Everyman is a drama written in the Medieval era. Its mainly based on the people of that time. Its an era which people had lost moral values. As the message should be sent to every class of the society it is in Dramatic form. The author is anonymous but the message is well known for every times. The Morality of the story depends on the deep message given by the abstract characters and their actions. The message of morality is given in direct form  at the last dialogs.

some of the advice given in this moral play

  • forsake pride
  • don't keep too much belief on beauty, strength and discretion
  • good deeds never abandon a person even at death
  • before death you must be prepared
  • death frails everything
  • material wealth will lead a person to damnation
  • people changes every time
  • correct mistakes
  • a has to give both will and mind to activate good deeds
  • do not forsake religion
  • share
  • religion is there not to ask but to praise
  • emptiness of the promises given by people
  • should not have too much of confidence
  • be accountable to god and himself

in this drama the most important thing is not the writer's style or the abstract characters , but the message. This drama isn't a invitation to be a good Christian but to be a good human. Here god is the everlasting truth of the world. Good deeds is not needed only for the salvation, but if you think of characters like Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi and st. John there good work in past make them live till now. They are internal in our hearts. The people who destroyed the world there is no such place. Thats the importance of good deeds. Not for the present but the life after death.

So this moral play is not just words and abstract characters but is the word of wisdom regarding life itself and beyond.

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