Why does God decide force Everyman to make a reckoning now, when he would much rather still remain on Earth?Why does God decide force Everyman to make a reckoning now, when he would much rather...

Why does God decide force Everyman to make a reckoning now, when he would much rather still remain on Earth?

Why does God decide force Everyman to make a reckoning now, when he would much rather still remain on Earth?

Expert Answers
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The best way to answer this question would be to turn it into a personal question.

Many times throughout our lives we are given challenges that we would rather not take because we feel as though what is happening to us now is much more important. We are challenged throughout life to make decisions about the path that our life will take based upon our fears of the unknown.

Therefore, has there ever been a time in your own life where you wanted to do something other than what someone was requesting of you?

Yes, we all have.

In the story "Everyman", the answer to your question is no different. Everyman represents just that- every man. The reckoning that God forces Everyman to take on is one based upon God's time-line not Everyman's.

God knows that it is at this point in Everyman's life in which he must face his own reckoning. At any later point in his life, the reckoning would not be the same. The fact that Everyman must face his challenge without his allies (who end up abandoning him), is very important in the reasoning. Like stated before, this is the correct time for the reckoning, it cannot take place at any other point in Everyman's life.

Like stated before, there are many times life throws us something that we would just rather not do- right now. It is called procrastination. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on the decision to face our own reckoning, time does not have an influence on it. The matter of allignment is much more important.

Theoretically, do you think that Everyman would have ever faced his reckoning if God did not insist? Probably not.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The playwright has God decide that Everyman must make his reckoning at this particular moment in his life for a number of different plausible reasons, including the following:

  • to emphasize that God is omnipotent and can do anything he wants at any time he wants
  • to remind us that death can come for us at any time and that we have very little choice in the matter
  • to make Everyman's desire for a postponement of death seem funny and thereby remind us all that death cannot be postponed unless God so chooses
  • to remind us that Everyman is our own representative, and that anything that happens to Everyman can easily happen to every single one of us


Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of this play, God is angry about what Everyman has done with the many gifts he has been given.

 In lines 22-62, God explains that His people are all consumed with riches and worldly goods, forgetting that He died on a cross to give them eternal life. He is dismayed that Everyman is living after his own pleasure, and the longer He withholds His wrath the worse they get. They have become "worse than beasts." He says He offered His people mercy but only a few have taken advantage of it. So now He "must needs justice do." He asks for the Angel of Death and sends him to call Everyman to his final reckoning.

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The end of Everyman's quest is salvation. Salvation is realised upon death and ultimately bestowed in Heaven. Therefore, the end of Everyman's journey is death. Once he has freed Good Deeds and has Strength, Beauty, Discretion, and his other companions with him, he has attained what he needs to successfully complete his journey. As Everyman says:

For now have I on true contrition! (650)
And let us go now without tarrying.

I go before where I would be. (780)
God be our guide!


litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I am not sure that God would consider anyone's feelings in this situation. Oftentimes when we make mistakes we do not want to own up to them. Yet we have to. God is often referred to often as a parent, and humans like children. Just as it's a parent's responsibility to straighten out a child, it's God's responsibility to straighten out humans.
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