Why is Everyman's acceptance of the last sacraments performed offstage?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many times, playwrights have events offstage and reported later on stage to give the audience the opportunity to experience it for themselves through their own individual imagination.  If it is a scary event, what is scary for one will not have the same effect for another; however, if everyone has to imagine the event, everyone is equally scared because of what he/she imagines.  This way, the author of the play gets the reaction he wants from each audience member without having to work too hard.  We do the work.

Morality plays were meant to teach the illiterate masses how to live correctly.  The acceptance of the last sacraments would be important for each individual to imagine for himself...to see himself doing these things...as a way to live correctly and make it to the Kingdom of Heaven.

sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Everyman is a medieval morality play.  Its goal was to specifically to teach a lesson to the audience.  In this case, the audience is, literally, every man (man = human).  The message includes clear instructions on how to achieve everlasting life in God's kingdom.  The author focuses on Good Deeds and their necessity for any moral man.  However, the author sticks closely to Catholicism, the dominant religion of the time.  Catholic dogma states that priests are God's representatives on Earth.  Therefore, in order to achieve entrance to God's kingdom, humans must have a priest perform the rites.  The author demonstrates this on stage to underscore its importance.