Author’s Perception of Death and The Treatment of Death in “Everyman”


The “everyman” is a morality play and its complete title is “The Summoning of Everyman”. The play is the most well-known and the best recognized among the other historical morality plays. The play is a depiction of what Christians gets suppose to do or how they get suppose to spend their lives to prevent conviction of their souls by death (Yaw Adu-Gyamfi P.265). For the plot and the morals understanding, every character of the play is very vital. However, Death has the most important responsibility. Certainly, the main character is the Everyman, but no would be there if Death was not there in the play (Rindfleish, p23). Additionally, Everyman would not be illuminative or informative to any person. Death gets represented in the play by the author as God messenger, liberator of people, and unkind arbitrator. The author clarifies that people must suffer for the fault made by the Adam, and the bad acts elevates the sin of Everyman. Although, Death has precise aspire, he carries out various other purposes and objectives. As a result the author perceives deaths in various perspectives.

The Author’s View of Death and the Treatment of Death

. Death is symbolized as a unrelenting antagonist of Everyman, who unsuccessfully endeavors to confer. Not only is the Death a character of the play, but also the objective of Everyman as story is a clarification of what man should do and what he should not do prior to his death. However, Everyman has decided to do more wrong acts and few good acts (“Everyman”, 28). As death clarifies to Everyman various appealing things particularly about only on opportunity for every person, Death becomes best tutor of life, and conveys judgment. As a result, Death changes the Everyman’s approach to his life and acts.

The author of the play identifies death as a servant and a messenger to God. The author directs reader for additional thoughts about actual fundamental nature of Death in the play by leaving many spaces in his description. However, this makes the character of death irrefutable. Death is the one that every person in the world must and can expect. The anonymous author under the image of Death signifies an account of bodily and allegory of ethical death. This picture of mind is an immense convincing proof of the truth, which is imperceptible in the normal life.  It puts individual in dread. Furthermore, it causes an immense concern to individual. Ironically, Everyman is afraid of Death and at the same time Death serves God. The chain of these associations in the play has an objective of changing the mind of the readers, in addition to persuading him predictability of death in real life and power of God.

The author perceives Death as very strong particularly to the common individuals; although he is God’s servant and achieves his assignment bring back people to God. Death is an element of human being condition. In such way, from beginning to end of the play the allegorical portrayals and depiction of the relations of Death with God and Everyman with Death, the writer indicates the discernment of the person prospect in the medieval people’s eye. The reader gets brought closer to apprehending of Christian faith. Nevertheless, the discernment of Death as God’s servants discloses the unordinary point of view on this relationship. In the beginning of the play the dialogue amid God and Death opens the actuality of the service of death. The dialogue illustrate Death is unhappy due to his deeds, his not generous, and as full ill motive and immense malice on persons as he requires Everyman to get punished his preceding acts. However this is illustrated on the play as he says “thy reckoning to give before his (God’s) presence” (“Everyman” 31), an indication of an approach of a prisoner.

The author also reflects Death as the manifestation of estrangement and loneliness. He shows the catastrophic characteristics of life terminating in personal accountability. In front of judgment of God every person is accountable of his own deeds. Therefore, no can assist, support, or save. The inescapability of Death opens the eyes of Everyman. It is then he recognizes that worldly things cannot save him before the God. However, although this reassessment could be the commencement of fresh life dedicated to the right and good, it could be impossible to have a complete change due to all previously wrongly spent years. Consequently, the advancement of Everyman to self-development and apprehending is an answer to preliminary summons of Death.

Death in the play remains terrifying and evil. Therefore, the author illustrates Death all through the play as an unwanted guest. However, as Everyman tries to keep away from Death during events, Death supremacy gets symbolized in the play. The phrase : “Everyman: O Death, thou comest when I had thee least in mind; In thy power it lieth me to save, Yet of my good will I give thee, if ye will be kind” (“Everyman” 29) illustrates Everyman fear.

Death gets perceived by the author as being unkind, swift, pitiless, and fearless. No one can keep away from the Death and he lives with people all over their times. Death kills time for Everyman, as he gets acquainted with that nearer or afterward Everyman will meet his time. As a result, Everyman is toothless against death. However, regardless of the all unenthusiastic in the Character of Death, he has a sky-scraping aspire: to confirm Everyman the supremacy and kindness of God. Death makes known the glory of God. Therefore, he is explanation to everything: to the know-how of God, to which he shows the way to Everyman (Slocum, p173).

The author also perceives Death as the depiction of ethical death. Everyman has decided to live a life that will guide his life to a downfall. Death has come to Everyman before his actual physical death to represent his real moral death. Therefore, the main aspire of death is to arouse Everyman and to show him the right decision. In spite of Death’s disagreeable features of the character, he still continues to be more of a mediator of correction than penalty. The deeds of Everyman in the play are an illustration of treatment of death by the author. The meeting of Everyman and Death bring sufferings and confuses to him, therefore he is afraid of Death. However, all this is because he had spent his life in sin, and now he recognizes his destiny at the end. This thought develops with the narcissism of his effort to put off death.


Death is an adversary of the central character Everyman. He exemplifies the only doubtless reality in life: every person is going to die. Therefore, the only question of time is meeting with death. No one can keep away from it. The adversary of the play portrays, at the outset, the physical death. The word Death creates a center of attention people since it sounds influential. The powerful, unpleasant word “death” replicates a certainty. The author comprehends the insinuations of death and utilizes it to draw the attention of the reader. Death in the play is the allegorical illustration by the author of the physical death. The reader recognizes that God have power over Death, that bring certainty, and which will in the long run visit every person. The play is a lesson to everyone that all the deeds that a person does in life are determination of his or her destiny. Death is omnipresent to remind people that whatever they do will count in the time of judgment. The play also shows that God has control of everything.

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