Everyman | Study Guide

Anonymous

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Everyman Study Guide." Course Hero. 14 June 2019. Web. 11 Aug. 2022. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Everyman/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2019, June 14). Everyman Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved August 11, 2022, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Everyman/

In text

(Course Hero, 2019)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Everyman Study Guide." June 14, 2019. Accessed August 11, 2022. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Everyman/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "Everyman Study Guide," June 14, 2019, accessed August 11, 2022, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Everyman/.

Everyman | Character Analysis

Share
Share

Everyman

Everyman represents all of humanity. He has lived a sinful life during which he sought out pleasure and accumulated wealth. He did not engage in charity, nor did he consider his immortal soul. When Death comes to him, he begs, stalls, and tries to bribe his way out of consequences. He is upset that his friends and family will not help him though it is clear in their position he would do the same. Although Everyman begins the play afraid, confused, and hurt, he becomes calmer and braver through the faithfulness of Good-Deeds and the moral guidance of Knowledge. He is genuinely grateful for their friendship. Confession and communion soothe his soul, and by the end of the play, he is ready to die. He is distressed that his Strength, Beauty, Discretion, and Five-Wits will not come to the grave, but he is comforted by Knowledge and Good-Deeds. He ascends from the grave into heaven and is saved.

Death

Death travels at God's command. Death boasts about how he will "beset all who liveth beastly," with the implication that his power over the righteous is limited. Death will accept no bribery and chastises Everyman that he should have known Death would always come. Death is implacable (not able to be appeased) and repeats his unrelenting message. He comes for every person; this is his mission from God.

Good-Deeds

Good-Deeds is earnest and true. She is the only character who is willing and able to come with Everyman after death to plead his case before God. She wants to help Everyman even when she is too weak to do so. She directs him to her sister, Knowledge, who provides Everyman with the guidance to achieve salvation. The state in which Good-Deeds is introduced is an important moral feature of the play. Because Everyman has been miserly and wicked, she is too small and weak to move, and the weight of his sin crushes her down. As Everyman pursues penance and righteousness, she becomes strong enough to stand as his advocate. Without a proper religious life and the intervention of the Church, she would have been unable to help him.

Knowledge

Like Good-Deeds, Knowledge is a wise and virtuous guide for Everyman. She represents knowledge in the specific sense of knowing the difference between right and wrong, and she guides Everyman to religion and correct behavior. Though she cannot follow Everyman after his death, she stays with him when all his other earthly friends have left him. He responds to her with genuine gratitude, and she stays by his grave after he passes.

God

God appears only once in the play to establish the moral state of humanity and to send Death for Everyman. Still, He is a constant presence in Everyman's quest for salvation. Everything that happens in the play is set out by God's design. He has laid out the conditions of Everyman's redemption and the path by which redemption can be accomplished. He has given power to His earthly representatives, the clergy. In the end, Everyman's reward is to be with Him.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Everyman? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!