Is Everyman taken by surprise when Death appears and how do the different virtues seek to help Everyman as he faces Death?
The allegory in this morality is a personification—an elaborate drama in which abstractions such as Beauty, Friendship, etc. desert Everyman as he “travels” toward the grave. The lesson to us all is that only our Good Deeds will accompany us on our judgment day, and all our relatives (Kindred), and our earthly qualities (Beauty, Strength, etc.) will “desert” us, not help us. Everyman was not so much surprised by the appearance of Death as surprised that his Beauty, Friends, etc. would desert him, and asks Death for more time. The opening of the play, a sort of prologue that sets up the exposition, tells the audience that God is unhappy with Man’s neglect of His laws. The moral lesson is particularily effective when acted out in public places.