Conclusion (from Everyman)

Everyman and Good Deeds descend into the grave alone, as none other of their companions may go with them. At last, the Day of Reckoning has come for Everyman. Is he ready?

KNOWLEDGE: Now hath he made ending,
Methinketh that I hear angels sing
And make great joy and melody
Where Everyman’s soul received shall be.
ANGEL [from within]: Come, excellent elect spouse, to Jesus!
Here above thou shalt go
Because of thy singular virtue.
Now the soul is taken the body fro,
Thy reckoning is crystal clear:
Now shalt thou into the heavenly sphere—
Unto the which all ye shall come
That liveth well before the day of doom.
DOCTOR: This memorial men may have in mind:†
Ye hearers, take it of worth, old and young,
And forsake Pride, for he deceiveth you in the end.
And remember Beauty, Five-Wits, Strength, and Discretion,
They all at the last do Everyman forsake,
Save his Good Deeds there doth he take—
But beware, for if they be small,
Before God he hath no help at all—
None excuse may be there for Everyman.
Alas, how shall he do then?
For after death amends may no man make,
For then mercy and pity doth him forsake.
If his reckoning be not clear when he doth come,
God will say, “Ite, maledicti, in ignem eternum!”‡
And he that hath his account whole and sound,
High in heaven he shall be crowned,
Unto which place God bring us all thither,
That we may live body and soul together.
Thereto help, the Trinity!
Amen, say ye, for saint charity.

from Everyman, after 1485
†The Doctor is the learned theologian who explains the meaning of the play.
‡”Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.”

This is Part 12 in a series of Sunday segments from this allegory, which I am sharing as much to educate as to entertain. If you have continued with me from the beginning, many thanks to you. But if no one else enjoyed it, I certainly did. I studied this drama in college, but that was a long time ago. It was nice to go back and refresh my memory. 🙂 If you missed any of the previous posts, you may read them here: Part 1: Messenger, Part 2: God, Part 3: Fellowship, Part 4: Kindred, Part 5: Goods, Part 6: Good Deeds, Part 7: Knowledge, Part 8: Confession, Part 9: Other Companions, Part 10: Strength & Beauty Depart, Part 11: Into the Grave.

Everyman is the best surviving example of that kind of medieval drama which is known as the morality play. Moralities apparently evolved side by side with the mysteries and in England were, like them, acted by trade guilds, though they were composed individually and not in cycles. They both have a primarily religious purpose, though their method of attaining it is different. The mysteries endeavored to make the Christian religion more real to the unlearned by dramatizing significant events in Biblical history and by showing what these events meant in terms of human experience. The moralities, on the other hand, employed allegory to dramatize the moral struggle that Christianity envisions as present in every man. The actors are every man and the qualities within him, good or bad, and the plot consists of his various reactions to these qualities as they push and pull him one way or another—that is, in Christian terms, toward heaven or toward hell.

 

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Into the Grave (from Everyman)

Everyman is nearing the end of his journey to stand before God to give an account for the deeds he has done. As is the nature of all flesh, his aging body weakens, and he approaches the grave. Beauty and Strength have left him, for they can go no further. Now he wonders if the other companions, Good Deeds, Knowledge, Discretion, and Five-Wits, will leave or stay.

DISCRETION: Everyman, I will after Strength be gone:
As for me, I will leave you alone.
EVERYMAN: Why Discretion, will ye forsake me?
DISCRETION: Yea, in faith, I will go from thee.
For when Strength goeth before,
I follow after evermore.
EVERYMAN: Yet I pray thee, for the love of the Trinity,
Look in my grave once piteously.
DISCRETION: Nay, so nigh will I not come.
Farewell everyone!
EVERYMAN: O all thing faileth save God alone—
Beauty, Strength, and Discretion.
For when Death bloweth his blast
They all run from me full fast.
FIVE-WITS: Everyman, my leave now of thee I take.
I will follow the other, for here I thee forsake.
EVERYMAN: Alas, then may I wail and weep,
For I took you for my best friend.
FIVE-WITS: I will not longer thee keep.
Now farewell, and there an end!
EVERYMAN: O Jesus, help, all hath forsaken me!
GOOD DEEDS: Nay, Everyman, I will abide with thee:
I will not forsake thee indeed;
Thou shalt find me a good friend at need.
EVERYMAN: Much thanks, Good Deeds! Now may I true friends see.
They have forsaken me every one—
I loved them better than my Good Deeds alone.
Knowledge, will ye forsake me also?
KNOWLEDGE: Yea, Everyman, when ye to Death shall go,
But not yet, for no manner of danger.
EVERYMAN: Much thanks, Knowledge, with all my heart!…
Methink, alas, that I must be gone
To make my reckoning and my debts pay,
Fo I see me time is nigh spent away.
Take example, all yet that this do hear or see,
How they that I best loved do forsake e,
Except my Good Deeds that bideth truly.
GOOD DEEDS: All earthly things is but vanity.
Beauty, Strength, and Discretion do man forsake,
Foolish friends and kinsmen that fair spake—
All fleeth save Good Deeds, and that am I.

EVERYMAN: Into thy hands, Lord, my soul I commend:
Receive it, Lord, that it be not lost.
As thou me boughtest, so me defend,
And save me from the fiend’s boast,
That I may appear with that blessed host
That shall be saved at the day of doom.
[EVERYMAN and GOOD DEEDS descend into the grave.]

from Everyman, after 1485

This is Part 11 in a series of Sunday segments from this allegory, which I am sharing as much to educate as to entertain. Click here to read previous posts: Part 1: Messenger, Part 2: God, Part 3: Fellowship, Part 4: Kindred, Part 5: Goods, Part 6: Good Deeds, Part 7: Knowledge, Part 8: Confession, Part 9: Other Companions, Part 10: Strength & Beauty Depart.

Everyman is the best surviving example of that kind of medieval drama which is known as the morality play. Moralities apparently evolved side by side with the mysteries and in England were, like them, acted by trade guilds, though they were composed individually and not in cycles. They both have a primarily religious purpose, though their method of attaining it is different. The mysteries endeavored to make the Christian religion more real to the unlearned by dramatizing significant events in Biblical history and by showing what these events meant in terms of human experience. The moralities, on the other hand, employed allegory to dramatize the moral struggle that Christianity envisions as present in every man. The actors are every man and the qualities within him, good or bad, and the plot consists of his various reactions to these qualities as they push and pull him one way or another—that is, in Christian terms, toward heaven or toward hell.

 

 

Strength & Beauty Depart (from Everyman)

Everyman is well on his way on his journey to stand before God to give an account for the deeds he has done, accompanied by Good Deeds, Knowledge, Strength, Discretion, Beauty, and Five-Wits. Everyman vows to give half his Goods to the poor, and he does other deeds as well that befit a follower of Christ. But as if the nature of all flesh, by and by he begins to weaken.

EVERYMAN: Alas, I am so faint I may not stand—
My limbs under me doth fold!
Friends, let us not turn again to this land,
Not for all the world’s gold.
For into this cave must I creep
And turn to earth, and there to sleep.
BEAUTY: What, into this grave, alas?
EVERYMAN: Yea, there shall ye consume, more or less.
BEAUTY: And what, should I smother here?
EVERYMAN: Yea, by my faith, and nevermore appear.
In this world live no more we shall,
But in heaven before the highest Lord of all.
BEAUTY: I cross out all this! Adieu, by Saint John—
I take my tape in my lap and am gone.
EVERYMAN: What, Beauty, whither will ye?
BEAUTY: Peace, I am deaf—I look not behind me,
Not if thou wouldest give me all the gold in thy chest.

STRENGTH: Everyman, I will thee also forsake and deny.
Thy game pleases me not at all.
EVERYMAN: Why then, ye will forsake me all?
Sweet Strength, tarry a little space.
STRENGTH: Nay, sir, by the rood of grace,
I will hie me from thee fast,
Though thou weep till thy heart break.
EVERYMAN: Ye would ever bide by me, ye said.
STRENGTH: Yea, I have you far enough conveyed!
Ye be old enough, I understand,
Your pilgrimage to take on hand:
I repent me that I hither came….
Thou art but a fool to complain;
You spend your speech and waste your brain.
Go, thrust thee into the ground.
EVERYMAN: I had supposed surer I should you have found.
He that trusteth in his Strength
She him deceiveth at the length.
Both Strength and Beauty forsaketh me—
Yet they promised me fair and lovingly.

from Everyman, after 1485

This is Part 10 in a series of Sunday segments from this allegory, which I am sharing as much to educate as to entertain. Click here to read previous posts: Part 1: Messenger, Part 2: God, Part 3: Fellowship, Part 4: Kindred, Part 5: Goods, Part 6: Good Deeds, Part 7: Knowledge, Part 8: Confession, Part 9: Other Companions.

Everyman is the best surviving example of that kind of medieval drama which is known as the morality play. Moralities apparently evolved side by side with the mysteries and in England were, like them, acted by trade guilds, though they were composed individually and not in cycles. They both have a primarily religious purpose, though their method of attaining it is different. The mysteries endeavored to make the Christian religion more real to the unlearned by dramatizing significant events in Biblical history and by showing what these events meant in terms of human experience. The moralities, on the other hand, employed allegory to dramatize the moral struggle that Christianity envisions as present in every man. The actors are every man and the qualities within him, good or bad, and the plot consists of his various reactions to these qualities as they push and pull him one way or another—that is, in Christian terms, toward heaven or toward hell.

 

 

Other Companions (from Everyman)

Everyman meets Confession at the House of Salvation, and he repents of his sin, trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross for his salvation. Good Deeds receives new strength and is able to walk again. Joyfully she accompanies Everyman on the remainder of his journey, and they are joined by four more companions as well: Discretion, Strength, Five-Wits, and Beauty.

EVERYMAN: My friends, come hither and be present,
Discretion, Strength, my Five-Wits, and Beauty!
BEAUTY: Here at your will we be all ready.
What will ye that we should do?
GOOD DEEDS: That ye would with Everyman go
And help him in his pilgrimage.
Advise you: will ye with him or not in that voyage?
STRENGTH: We will bring him all thither,
To his help and comfort, ye may believe me.
DISCRETION: So will we go with him all together.
EVERYMAN: Almighty God, praised might thou be!
I give thee laud that I have hither brought
Strength, Discretion, Beauty, and Five-Wits—lack I nought—
And my Good Deeds, with Knowledge clear,
All be in my company at my will here:
I desire no more to my business.
STRENGTH: And I, Strength, will by you stand in distress,
Though thou would in battle fight on the ground.
FIVE-WITS: And though it were through the world round,
We will not depart for sweet nor sour.
BEAUTY: No more will I, until death’s hour….

from Everyman, after 1485

This is Part 9 in a series of Sunday segments from this allegory, which I am sharing as much to educate as to entertain. Click here to read previous posts: Part 1: Messenger, Part 2: God, Part 3: Fellowship, Part 4: Kindred, Part 5: Goods, Part 6: Good Deeds, Part 7: Knowledge, Part 8: Confession.

Everyman is the best surviving example of that kind of medieval drama which is known as the morality play. Moralities apparently evolved side by side with the mysteries and in England were, like them, acted by trade guilds, though they were composed individually and not in cycles. They both have a primarily religious purpose, though their method of attaining it is different. The mysteries endeavored to make the Christian religion more real to the unlearned by dramatizing significant events in Biblical history and by showing what these events meant in terms of human experience. The moralities, on the other hand, employed allegory to dramatize the moral struggle that Christianity envisions as present in every man. The actors are every man and the qualities within him, good or bad, and the plot consists of his various reactions to these qualities as they push and pull him one way or another—that is, in Christian terms, toward heaven or toward hell.

 

 

Confession (from Everyman)

Death has issued a summons to Everyman, calling him to give an account before God for the deeds he has done. Fellowship, Kindred, Cousin, and Goods have all forsaken him. Good Deeds is willing go with him, but she is weak because he has not exercised her sufficiently. So she recommends her sister, Knowledge, as a traveling companion, and Knowledge immediately takes him to Confession, at the House of Salvation…. 

KNOWLEDGE: Lo, this is Confession: kneel down and ask mercy,
For he is in good esteem with God Almighty.
EVERYMAN [kneeling]: O glorious fountain that all uncleanness doth clarify,
Wash from me the spots of vice unclean,
That on me no sin may be seen.
I come with Knowledge for my redemption,
Redeemed with heart and full contrition,
For I am commanded a pilgrimage to take
And great accounts before God to make….
CONFESSION: I know your sorrow well, Everyman.
Because with Knowledge ye come to me,
I will you comfort as well as I can,
And a precious jewel I will give thee…
Ask God mercy and he will grant, truly…
The oil of forgiveness then shall ye find.

EVERYMAN: O eternal God, O heavenly figure,
O way of righteousness, O goodly vision
Which descended down in a virgin pure
Because he would every man redeem,
Which Adam forfeited by his disobedience;
O blessed Godhead, elect and high Divine,
Forgive my grievous offense!
Here I cry thee mercy in this presence:
O ghostly Treasure, O Ransomer and Redeemer,
Of all the world Hope and Guide,
Mirror of joy, Founder of mercy,
Which illumineth heaven and earth thereby,
Hear my clamorous complaint, though it late be;
Receive my prayers, of thy benignity.
Though I be a sinner most abominable,
Yet let my name be written in Moses’ table….
KNOWLEDGE: Everyman, God give you time and space!
Thus I bequeath you in the hands of our Savior:
Now may you make your reckoning sure.

GOOD DEEDS: I thank God, now can I walk and go,
And am delivered of my sickness and woe.
Therefore with Everyman I will go, and not spare:
His good works I will help him to declare.

from Everyman, after 1485

This is Part 8 in a series of Sunday segments from this allegory, which I am sharing as much to educate as to entertain. Click here to read previous posts: Part 1: Messenger, Part 2: God, Part 3: Fellowship, Part 4: Kindred, Part 5: Goods, Part 6: Good Deeds, Part 7: Knowledge.

Everyman is the best surviving example of that kind of medieval drama which is known as the morality play. Moralities apparently evolved side by side with the mysteries and in England were, like them, acted by trade guilds, though they were composed individually and not in cycles. They both have a primarily religious purpose, though their method of attaining it is different. The mysteries endeavored to make the Christian religion more real to the unlearned by dramatizing significant events in Biblical history and by showing what these events meant in terms of human experience. The moralities, on the other hand, employed allegory to dramatize the moral struggle that Christianity envisions as present in every man. The actors are every man and the qualities within him, good or bad, and the plot consists of his various reactions to these qualities as they push and pull him one way or another—that is, in Christian terms, toward heaven or toward hell.

 

 

Knowledge (from Everyman)

Death has issued a summons to Everyman, calling him to give an account before God for the deeds he has done. Fellowship, Kindred, Cousin, and Goods have all forsaken him. Good Deeds is willing go with him, but she is weak because he has not exercised her sufficiently. So she recommends her sister, Knowledge, as a traveling companion…. 

KNOWLEDGE: Everyman, I will go with thee and be thy guide,
In thy most need to go by thy side.
EVERYMAN: In good condition I am now in everything,
And am whole content with this good thing,
Thanked be God my Creator.
GOOD DEEDS: And when she hath brought you there
Where thou shalt heal thee of thy smart,
Then do you with your reckoning and your Good Deeds together
For to make you joyful at heart
Before the blessed Trinity.
EVERYMAN: My Good Deeds, much thanks!
I am well content, certainly,
with your words sweet.
KNOWLEDGE: Now go we together lovingly
To Confession, that cleansing river.
EVERYMAN: For joy I weep—I would we were there!
But I pray you give me cognition,
Where dwelleth that holy man Confession?
KNOWLEDGE: In the House of Salvation:
We shall us comfort, by God’s grace.

from Everyman, after 1485

This is Part 7 in a series of Sunday segments from this allegory, which I am sharing as much to educate as to entertain. Click here to read previous posts: Part 1: Messenger, Part 2: God, Part 3: Fellowship, Part 4: Kindred, Part 5: Goods, Part 6: Good Deeds.

Everyman is the best surviving example of that kind of medieval drama which is known as the morality play. Moralities apparently evolved side by side with the mysteries and in England were, like them, acted by trade guilds, though they were composed individually and not in cycles. They both have a primarily religious purpose, though their method of attaining it is different. The mysteries endeavored to make the Christian religion more real to the unlearned by dramatizing significant events in Biblical history and by showing what these events meant in terms of human experience. The moralities, on the other hand, employed allegory to dramatize the moral struggle that Christianity envisions as present in every man. The actors are every man and the qualities within him, good or bad, and the plot consists of his various reactions to these qualities as they push and pull him one way or another—that is, in Christian terms, toward heaven or toward hell.

 

 

Good Deeds (from Everyman)

Having been forsaken by Fellowship, Kindred, and Cousin, Everyman turns next to his earthly Goods for companionship, but Goods also refuses to go with him, and even goes so far as to say that if Everyman had not loved him so much, he would not be in his present predicament. Everyman now turns his attention to his Good Deeds. She is weak, but he asks her for help anyway. She says that she will go with him if he will do what she says…. 

GOOD DEEDS: Here I lie, cold in the ground:
Thy sins hath me sore bound
That I cannot stir.

EVERYMAN: Why? Is there anything on you fallen?
GOOD DEEDS: Yea, sir, I may thank you of all:
If ye had perfectly cheered me,
Your book of account would full ready be….
[shows him the book]
EVERYMAN: Our Lord Jesus help me!
For one letter here I cannot see.
GOOD DEEDS: There is a blind reckoning in time of distress!
EVERYMAN: Good Deeds, I pray you help me in this need,
Or else I am forever damned indeed.
Therefore help me to make reckoning
Before the Redeemer of all things
That King is and was and ever shall.
GOOD DEEDS: Everyman, I am sorry for your fall
And fain would help you if I were able.
EVERYMAN: Good Deeds, your counsel I pray you give me.
GOOD DEEDS: That shall I do verily,
Though that on my feet I may not go;
I have a sister that shall with you also,
Called Knowledge, which shall with you abide
To help you to make that dreadful reckoning.

from Everyman, after 1485

This is Part 6 in a series of Sunday segments from this allegory, which I am sharing as much to educate as to entertain. Click here to read previous posts: Part 1: Messenger, Part 2: God, Part 3: Fellowship, Part 4: Kindred, Part 5: Goods.

Everyman is the best surviving example of that kind of medieval drama which is known as the morality play. Moralities apparently evolved side by side with the mysteries and in England were, like them, acted by trade guilds, though they were composed individually and not in cycles. They both have a primarily religious purpose, though their method of attaining it is different. The mysteries endeavored to make the Christian religion more real to the unlearned by dramatizing significant events in Biblical history and by showing what these events meant in terms of human experience. The moralities, on the other hand, employed allegory to dramatize the moral struggle that Christianity envisions as present in every man. The actors are every man and the qualities within him, good or bad, and the plot consists of his various reactions to these qualities as they push and pull him one way or another—that is, in Christian terms, toward heaven or toward hell.

 

 

Goods (from Everyman)

Having been forsaken by Fellowship, Kindred, and Cousin, Everyman wonders who will accompany him on his journey to the day of reckoning before God. 

EVERYMAN: All my life I have loved riches:
If that my Goods now help me might,
He would make my heart full light.
I will speak to him in this distress.
Where art thou, my Goods and riches?
GOODS: Who calleth me? Everyman? What, hast thou haste?
I lie here in corners, trussed and piled so high,
And in chests I am locked so fast—
Also sacked in bags—thou mayst see with thine eye
I cannot stir, in packs low where I lie.
What would ye have? Quickly me say.
EVERYMAN: Come hither, Goods, in all the haste thou may,
For of counsel I must desire thee.
GOODS: Sir, if ye in the world have sorrow or adversity,
That can I help you to remedy shortly.
EVERYMAN: It is another disease that grieveth me:
In this world it is not, I tell thee so.
I am sent for another way to go,
To give a strict account general
Before the highest Jupiter of all.
And all my life I have had joy and pleasure in thee:
Therefor I pray thee go with me,
For, peradventure, thou mayst before God Almighty
My reckoning help to clean and purify.
For it is said ever among
That money maketh all right that is wrong.
GOODS: Nay, Everyman, I sing another song:
I follow no man in such voyages.
For if I went with thee,
Thou shouldest fare much the worse for me;
For because on me thou did set thy mind,
Thy reckoning I have made blotted and blind,
That thine account thou cannot make truly—
And that hast thou for the love of me.
EVERYMAN: That would grieve me full sore
When I should come to that fearful answer.
Up, let us go thither together.
GOODS: Nay, not so, I am too brittle, I may not endure.
I will follow no man one foot, be ye sure.
EVERYMAN: Alas, I have thee loved and had great pleasure
All my life-days on good and treasure.
GOODS: That is to thy damnation, without lie,
For my love is contrary to the love everlasting.
But if thou had me loved moderately in the meanwhile,
As to the poor to give part of me,
Then shouldest thou not in this dolor be,
Nor in this great sorrow and care.

from Everyman, after 1485

This is Part 5 in a series of Sunday segments from this allegory, which I am sharing as much to educate as to entertain. Click here to read previous posts: Part 1: Messenger, Part 2: God, Part 3: Fellowship, Part 4: Kindred.

Everyman is the best surviving example of that kind of medieval drama which is known as the morality play. Moralities apparently evolved side by side with the mysteries and in England were, like them, acted by trade guilds, though they were composed individually and not in cycles. They both have a primarily religious purpose, though their method of attaining it is different. The mysteries endeavored to make the Christian religion more real to the unlearned by dramatizing significant events in Biblical history and by showing what these events meant in terms of human experience. The moralities, on the other hand, employed allegory to dramatize the moral struggle that Christianity envisions as present in every man. The actors are every man and the qualities within him, good or bad, and the plot consists of his various reactions to these qualities as they push and pull him one way or another—that is, in Christian terms, toward heaven or toward hell.

 

 

Kindred (from Everyman)

Having been forsaken by Fellowship, Everyman now turns to his Kindred and Cousin to see if they will go with him.

KINDRED: Here be we now at your commandment:
Cousin, I pray you show us your intent
In any wise, and not spare.
COUSIN: Yea, Everyman, and to us declare
If ye be disposed to go anywhere.
For we know you well, we will live and die together.
KINDRED: In wealth and woe we will with you hold,
For over his kind a man may be bold….
What account is that which ye must render?
That would I know.
EVERYMAN: Of all my works I must show,
How I have lived and my days spent;
Also of ill deeds that I have used
In my time since life was me lent,
And of all virtues that I have refused.
Therefore I pray you go there with me
To help me make my account, for saint charity.
COUSIN: What, to go there? Is that the matter?
Nay, Everyman, I had rather fast on bread and water
All this five years and more!

KINDRED: Ah, sir, what? Ye be a merry man:
Take good heart to you and make no moan.
But one thing I warn you, by Saint Anne,
As for me, ye shall go alone.
EVERYMAN: My Cousin, will you not with me go?
COUSIN: No, by Our Lady! I have the cramp in my toe….
Cousin Everyman, farewell now,
For verily I will not go with you;
Also of my own an unready reckoning
I have to account—therefore I make tarrying.
Now God keep thee, for now I go.
EVERYMAN: Ah, Jesus, is all come hereto?
Lo, fair words maketh fools glad:
They promise and nothing will do, certain.
My kinsmen promised me faithfully
For to abide with me steadfastly,
And now fast away do they flee.
Even so Fellowship promised me.
What friend were best me of to provide?
I lose my time here longer to abide.

from Everyman, after 1485

This is Part 4 in a series of Sunday segments from this allegory, which I am sharing as much to educate as to entertain. Click here to read previous posts: Part 1: Messenger, Part 2: God, Part 3: Fellowship.

Everyman is the best surviving example of that kind of medieval drama which is known as the morality play. Moralities apparently evolved side by side with the mysteries and in England were, like them, acted by trade guilds, though they were composed individually and not in cycles. They both have a primarily religious purpose, though their method of attaining it is different. The mysteries endeavored to make the Christian religion more real to the unlearned by dramatizing significant events in Biblical history and by showing what these events meant in terms of human experience. The moralities, on the other hand, employed allegory to dramatize the moral struggle that Christianity envisions as present in every man. The actors are every man and the qualities within him, good or bad, and the plot consists of his various reactions to these qualities as they push and pull him one way or another—that is, in Christian terms, toward heaven or toward hell.

 

 

Fellowship (from Everyman)

Fellowship sees a frown on Everyman’s face and asks him what’s wrong. Everyman hesitates to answer, so Fellowship promises to be true to him and go with him anywhere, even all the way to hell if need be. But when Everyman tells him that Death has sent him to stand before the judge Adonai and make a reckoning for his life, Fellowship quickly renigs on his promise, saying he wouldn’t go there even for his own father. They part ways, never to see each other again, and Everyman says:

Alack, shall we thus depart indeed—
Ah, Lady, help!—without any more comfort?
Lo, Fellowship forsaketh me in my most need!
For help in this world whither shall I resort?
Fellowship herebefore with me would merry make,
And now little sorrow for me doth he take.
It is said, “In prosperity men friends may find
Which in adversity be full unkind.”
Now whither for succor shall I flee,
Since that Fellowship hath forsaken me?

from Everyman, after 1485

This is Part 3 in a series of Sunday segments from this allegory, which I am sharing as much to educate as to entertain. Click here to read Part 1: Messenger and Part 2: God.

Everyman is the best surviving example of that kind of medieval drama which is known as the morality play. Moralities apparently evolved side by side with the mysteries and in England were, like them, acted by trade guilds, though they were composed individually and not in cycles. They both have a primarily religious purpose, though their method of attaining it is different. The mysteries endeavored to make the Christian religion more real to the unlearned by dramatizing significant events in Biblical history and by showing what these events meant in terms of human experience. The moralities, on the other hand, employed allegory to dramatize the moral struggle that Christianity envisions as present in every man. The actors are every man and the qualities within him, good or bad, and the plot consists of his various reactions to these qualities as they push and pull him one way or another—that is, in Christian terms, toward heaven or toward hell.