Summary of Everyman

The fifteenth century English medieval morality play Everyman is an allegorical play in which the audiences are given moral lessons through the representations of abstract qualities as characters.

In this short play, a messenger comes to take Everyman who is having contented life without any thought of the Day of Judgment in front of God. When he is summoned by the Death to go with him for the pilgrimage of the soul, he pleads to grant him a more day. But, as Death is inevitable, it does not agree with the Everyman and reminds him that it comes for all human beings in their own turn so none can make any delay. Then Everyman tries to seek the companion who can travel with him till the face of God.

At first, he goes to his friends who are allegorically represented by the Fellowship. Fellowship shows great concerns on his serious situation, but when he knows Everyman is on a trip to death, he immediately abandons him. He then turns to his family, having strong faith in them that they would not desert him alone. But this time too he is saddened by the relatives though he receives much of so-called love and support from them. Next, he looks for the Goods, which he has spent much of his lifetime to collect for the pleasures and luxuries of life. But, sadly his Goods, that are perishable and cannot travel with him in his pilgrimage, leaves him alone to wail over his poor fate.

Desperate Everyman now thinks about his own Good Deeds and calls for it. As his Good Deeds are few in comparison to his Sins, it answers in a weak and a low voice from the dirt. His Good Deeds suggests him to take advice from his Knowledge. Knowledge appears in front of him and makes him ready for the Confession of his sins. After making a sincere regret of his past life, his Good Deeds gets power to rise from the dirt and accompany him. The Good Deeds further suggests Everyman to call his other traits like Beauty, Strength, Discretion, and Five Wits who can help him in his preparation for the journey of pilgrimage. All of them are now happy to support him and gives him some suggestions and wisdom to face the Death. They all wish to stand by him till his Death, but the moment he faces Death, the first thing to disappear is Beauty, then his Strength, and then rest of his companions except Good Deeds. Everyman now comes to know the universal truth that only the Good Deeds give us company up to grave. Everyman is received by an Angel and because of his sincere confessions, his sufferings, and his Good Deeds, he is allowed to be into the kingdom of Heaven.

At the last of the play a Doctor, who is regarded as a wise and great theologian in the medieval era, appears on the stage and concludes the play, giving its moral: nothing on the earth possesses the quality to go with man with him after his death but the only Good Deeds. The Doctor warns the audiences saying that if the Good Deeds are too small, it will not be enough to take on to the Heaven, but at the same time, if one makes sincere repentant of his sins and wrong deeds, then the Fatherly Heaven belongs to him.

Everyman Study Center

Introduction of Everyman

Allegorical Elements in Everyman

The World of Medieval Drama in Everyman

Themes of Everyman