Death in Everyman Essay
Death in Everyman Essay

Death in Everyman Essay

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  • Pages: 6 (1466 words)
  • Published: January 26, 2022
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The fear of death is strong in many people, causing them to actively look for ways to prolong their life and avoid its unavoidable end.

In summary, people may try to avoid situations, objects, or individuals that could lead to their death. 'Everyman' is a 15th-century religious play with a Roman Catholic perspective. It conveys God's spiritual message to humanity, emphasizing the importance of life and death. Death is presented as an unavoidable part of life throughout the play. Different virtues and vices are personified to represent other characters in the play. The play demonstrates how individuals often prioritize living immorally and pursuing worldly pleasures, neglecting their spiritual existence until their last moments on earth.

Therefore, the play is a reflection of how individuals suffer while on earth trying to obtain worldly riches and how this suffering ult


imately leads to nothing after death.

As A Message from God

The author perceives death as a divine message dispatched by God. This can be observed in the manner he describes death as a messenger from God entrusted with the task of conveying news, regardless of whether it is favorable or unfavorable, to humanity. As an emissary of God, death dutifully adheres to God's commands and carries them out without waiting for what society deems as "appropriate moments" (ANON, 2009).

Death, as a messenger from God, remains unaffected by human appeals or external influences. Everyman tries to persuade Death by offering him anything he desires in exchange for postponing his arrival. Nonetheless, Death maintains that his decision is unavoidable. "I arrest Everyman and spare no one because everyone must submit to me according to God's commandment" (Everyman line 95). Despite fearing death, Everyman

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fails to grasp that God possesses ultimate authority and dominion over death.

Death is Inevitable

The author recognizes that death is something everyone will face, regardless of their social status. It emphasizes how death affects every individual, whether they are rich or poor. This is shown when Death approaches Everyman, who is portrayed as being well-dressed. Throughout his life, Everyman has focused on acquiring material possessions and seeking earthly pleasures.

The speaker expresses his deep affection for his possessions, which he treasures above all else. He also emphasizes how his wealth brings him joy and contentment. Despite leading a blissful life, Death eventually comes to him, proving that one's status or material possessions hold no influence over it. Death does not discriminate based on social standing, family connections, or wealth; it affects everyone indiscriminately. Even acts of kindness or virtuous deeds hold no sway against Death's power.

Everyman is certain that his death is imminent and pleads for mercy from God (Everyman line 112). He finds comfort when good deeds offer to accompany him on his journey. Initially, good deeds are weak and require support.

According to the author, Everyman's good deeds become stronger and fulfill their promise to accompany him after he receives compensation. Ultimately, despite having good deeds, Everyman dies and spends eternity with God. Even those who abandon Everyman in his time of need are aware that they too cannot escape death when their time comes (Child, 2012). However, they are not willing to expedite the process by joining Everyman.

The Author's Perspective on Death

The author sees death as a means of deliverance and salvation.

The author suggests that death does not always have

negative connotations as it can result in salvation. Death is seen as a means for God to direct individuals towards their ultimate destiny, as illustrated in the play Everyman. The author does not condemn death; rather, they perceive it as an escape from evil and suffering. Consequently, when people are united with God, there is no cause for anxiety or fear (Bolton, 2011).

It is unnecessary to fear or be obsessed with material possessions. We should recognize that Jesus Christ suffered greatly on the cross to provide salvation for all people. Everyman line 122 states that "The death of Jesus Christ offers everlasting hope." Thus, in this context, death should not be seen as something negative but rather as a representation of redemption and salvation.

It offers individuals a reason to anticipate a brighter future that extends beyond their lifetime on Earth.

A Path to Redemption

The author sees death as an avenue to achieve redemption. Death is seen as a trigger for remorse and self-reflection. People are afraid of death and will do anything possible to avoid it (Wheeler, 2012). Only when Everyman recognizes that he is confronted with death does he begin to feel distress and sadness. Prior to this realization, he seems arrogant and full of himself.

He seeks to evade death but repents when he realizes its inevitability. He acknowledges the error of pursuing earthly pleasures instead of God. Full repentance comes when he recognizes that those he trusted abandoned him in his time of need. He also realizes his lack of virtuous deeds in his life. He views God's actions as his final salvation, as without Him, he would be condemned to eternal suffering in


Death is portrayed as the ultimate stage in life, symbolizing the end of one's existence. Without death, Everyman would not have learned about his actions during his time on earth and the importance of treating others well. When a person passes away, they must let go of their dreams and plans, forsaking their ambitions and motivations in life.

In order to evade death, individuals must let go of all the things they cherish in life. This includes their loved ones as well as their knowledge, skills, talents, competences, and more (Cunningham & Reich, 2009). Everyman realizes this reality when he acknowledges that none of these possessions can rescue him from his destiny. Even those who were once significant to him desert him during his moment of desperation.

At this moment, the individual's material possessions are useless. The knowledge acquired will only be beneficial during their lifetime. Furthermore, personal characteristics like physical strength and discretion have no effect. Even intelligence cannot assist in their ultimate journey.

A Method of Confronting the Truth

The author sees death as a way to confront reality. Death poses a challenge to Everyman, who struggles to find someone willing to go with him. Everyman realizes that his friends and relatives betray him and don't truly care about him. He also acknowledges that everything, including his strength, beauty, and intelligence, diminishes over time. These qualities agree to accompany Everyman on his journey and even lead him to his grave. However, once they reach the gravesite, they all abandon him to face death alone.

According to Gassner & Quinn (2002), as life comes to an end, beauty and everything else start to vanish

one by one. The author illustrates that even what one believes to be legally theirs becomes insignificant. It is only through death that the unimportance and irrelevance of everything in life becomes apparent.

The text highlights the idea that while one may have affection for their relative and friend, they are ultimately unable to offer assistance during the moment of death. The author portrays death as a force that creates separation, illustrating the limited reliance one can have on themselves. In Everyman, knowledge abandons the protagonist once he has understood the extent of his wrongdoings. This perception underscores the notion that individuals can only place their trust in God.

God alone is the creator of human beings and has complete control over their ultimate fate.


'Everyman' provides a clear perspective on death. It shows that individuals can live without fearing death because God has authority over it and uses it as a messenger. Therefore, there is no need to be afraid of death. The author also sees death as an opportunity for people to repent and face the consequences of their actions.

According to him, death is an unexpected and unavoidable event that everyone will face without any chance of avoiding it. Death represents the achievement of human desires and goals in life. He views death as a way to achieve salvation and spend eternity with God.


  1. Meredith, B., & Sackler, H. (1955). Everyman: A moral play. New York: Caedmon.
  2. ANON, (2009) Everyman and mankind. London, United Kingdom: A&C Black Publisher Limited.
  3. Bolton, D. (2011). The study of

death in “the summoning of everyman.”

  • Child, C. G. (2012). Second Shepherds' Play Everyman and Other Early Plays.
  • Cunningham, S.L, ; Reich, J.J (2009). Culture and Values: A Survey of the humanities. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
  • Gassner, J., ; Quinn, E.
  • (2002) The readers’ encyclopedia of world drama. Courier Dover Publication

  • Wheeler, D. (2012). The Presentation of Death in the Morality Play ‘Everyman'. Death in the Morality Play ‘Everyman'
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