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Everyman - English Morality Play

Essay by   •  March 5, 2011  •  Essay  •  6,451 Words (26 Pages)  •  2,744 Views

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Everyman is late-15th-century English morality play. Called by Death, Everyman can persuade none of his friends - Beauty, Kindred, Worldly Goods - to go with him, except Good Deeds.

Characters

Everyman-------------------------Strength

God: Adonai----------------------Discretion

Death-----------------------------Five-Wits

Messenger------------------------Beauty

Fellowship------------------------Knowledge

Cousin----------------------------Confession

Kindred---------------------------Angel

Goods-----------------------------Doctor

Good-Deeds

HERE BEGINETH A TREATISE HOW THE HIGH FATHER OH HEAVEN SENDETH DEATH TO SUMMON EVERY CREATURE TO COME AND GIVE ACCOUNT OF THEIR LIVES IN THIS WORLD AND IS IN MANNER OF A MORAL PLAY.

Messenger: I pray you all give your audience,

And here this matter with reverence,

By figure a moral play-

The Summoning of Everyman called it is,

That of our lives and ending shows

How transitory we be all day.

This matter is wonderous precious,

But the intent of it is more gracious,

And sweet to bear away.

The story saith,-Man, in the beginning,

Look well, and take good heed to the ending,

Be you never so gay!

Ye think sin in the beginning full sweet,

Which in the end causeth thy soul to weep,

When the body lieth in clay.

Here shall you see how Fellowship and Jollity,

Both Strength, Pleasure, and Beauty,

Will fade from thee as flower in May.

For ye shall here, how our heavenly king

Calleth Everyman to a general reckoning:

Give audience, and here what he doth say.

God: I perceive here in my majesty,

How that all the creatures be to me unkind,

Living without dread in worldly prosperity:

Of ghostly sight the people be so blind,

Drowned in sin, they know me not for their God;

In worldly riches is all their mind,

They fear not my rightwiseness, the sharp rod;

My law that I shewed, when I for them died,

They forget clean, and shedding of my blood red;

I hanged between two, it cannot be denied;

To get them life I suffered to be dead;

I healed their feet; with thorns hurt was my head:

I could do no more than I did truly,

And now I see the people do clean forsake me.

They use the seven deadly sins damnable;

As pride, covetise, wrath, and lechery,

Now in the world be made commendable;

And thus they leave of angels the heavenly company;

Everyman liveth so after his own pleasure,

And yet of their life they be nothing sure:

I see the more that I them forbear

The worse they be from year to year;

All that liveth appaireth* fast, *is impaired

Therefore I will in all the haste

Have a reckoning of Everyman's person

For and I leave the people thus alone

In their life and wicked tempests,

Verily they will become much worse than beasts;

For now one would by envy another up eat;

Charity they all do clean forget.

I hope well that Everyman

In my glory should make his mansion,

And thereto I had them all elect;

But now I see, like traitors deject,

They thank me not for the pleasure that I to them meant,

Nor yet for their being that I them have lent;

I proffered the people great multitude of mercy,

And few there be that asketh it heartily;

They be so cumbered with worldly riches,

That needs on them I must do justice,

On Everyman living without fear.

Where art thou, Death, thou mighty messenger?

Death: Almighty God, I am here at your will,

Your commandment to fulfil.

God: Go thou to Everyman,

And show him in my name

A pilgrimage he must on him take,

Which he in no wise may escape;

And that he bring with him a sure reckoning

Without delay or any tarrying.

Death: Lord, I will in the world go run over all,

And cruelly outsearch both great and small;

Every man will I beset that liveth beastly

Out of God's laws, and

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