What is the main theme of the play "Everyman" by Anonymous?
Everyman is an allegorical morality play that was performed to teach a lesson to the medieval audience. The play teaches us that every man must face his death alone with only the good deeds that he has completed during his life, for this is all that truly matters. It is impossible to build up good deeds while at the same time indulging in worldly pleasures. Family, friends, beauty, strength, health, and even our senses will desert us during this final journey. Therefore, we must make sure that we are focusing on the right things in life so that we will be prepared for death.
One could choose from many of the different themes depicted in the play Everyman as the most important. For me, I would tend to lead towards the idea that the most important theme of the play would be one which highlights the importance of good deeds. Hopefully, readers, or watchers, of the play come to realize that materialistic possessions are not what hold the most importance in life. Instead, it is important to come away from the play with the knowledge that doing good in life is, by far, more important.
I agree with the earlier posts. Another standard medieval/Renaissance theme of this play is the theme of "mutability" -- the idea that our lives on earth are constantly changing and that the only source of true stability and lasting happiness for us is God in heaven. People in the middle ages believed that our lives here on earth were merely and highly ephemeral. They believed that the existence we really needed to think about was our existence in our afterlives.
One significant theme, which was written for Christian readers but is apropos for any audience, is the theme of forgiveness. It is appropriate for all because we each and everyone do things in our life of limited understanding and knowledge that turn out to be hurtful to others (unintentionally or willfully) or to ourselves and for which we need to make restitution in some form or other and for which we need forgiveness.
The main focus of this play has to be the way we invest our time and resources in this life given the ephemeral nature of our existence and the inescapable reality of death that awaits us all. Given these realities, we need to think very carefully about what we do with our lives now in the light of what awaits us in our eternal future.