The late fifteenth century English morality play, Everyman, by use of allegorical characters, presents ideas of religion and hypocrisy. The play talks about the religion of Christianity and how its adherents ought to live so as to save their souls.
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The ideas about religion are evident all through the play and its patently religious lesson is straightforward: worldly comforts are short-lived. Allegorically, through the interactions of the characters, the play points out that only good deeds and God’s grace are able to provide salvation to people.
To present ideas of religion, the play’s allegorical characters stand for different abstract concepts. Some of these are good habits, material possessions, and knowledge. In this regard, the messenger says as the play begins, “Listen to this moral play about the summoning of Everyman.
It shows how, at the end of our lives, we are shown to be transitory. You will see how Friendship, Kin, Worldly Goods and Possessions, Strength and Beauty will fade from you like a flower fades in May” (“Everyman,” para. 1). Describing the life of Everyman, who stands for every human being on the planet, the play narrates how Everyman is taught a life-lesson in piety by a character named Death sent by God.
In presentation of hypocrisy in people, the play points out that that most individuals are living in sin without caring that Christ died for their sins. The life of Everyman has been hypocritical. He has been living for his own pleasure without considering the significance of charity and the potential threat of the deadly hellfire; thus, when Death summons him to take a pilgrimage to God, he attempts to bribe Death to “defer this matter till another day” (“Everyman,” para. 11).
Nonetheless, the bargaining that Everyman make does not yield any fruits because he has to face the consequences of his hypocrisy and go before the Almighty, never to come back to the world again. In addition, after Death left Everyman to get ready for his day of reckoning, he hypocritically sought the assistance of various characters, such as Fellowship and Kindred and Cousin, to help him to get out of the problem he was facing.
“Everyman.” Comcast.net. Comcast Interactive Media, n.d. Web.