Is the morality play Everyman targeting the elite?

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As a morality play, Everyman has a universal message that is aimed at all members of society. That said, the social elite of late medieval England might well have felt themselves to have been the main targets of the play's overriding message.

At the time when Everyman was written, England was mired in greed and corruption. Under the reign of Henry VII—father of Henry VIII—the people of England were being taxed harshly. Under these circumstances, it's perhaps unsurprising that spiritual values were devalued and in some cases forgotten.

Though still nominally a Christian country, England seemed to have lost its way, ignoring spiritual values in the headlong pursuit of wealth and status. The upper classes in particular, increasingly squeezed as they were by a greedy king, became almost obsessed with money, to the detriment of their religious values.

Everyman, then, in presenting its audience with an allegory of man's (Christian) spiritual journey can be seen as reminding the upper classes, including perhaps the King himself, of their duties and responsibilities as Christian men and women. Many of those men and women had clearly departed from the path of righteousness, and the anonymous writer of Everyman wished to ensure that they returned to it in order that they not lose their souls.

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