Everyman Play Summary
One day a Messenger summons Everyman to render an account of himself before God. He declares that earthly possessions are of no avail at the time of death. God complains that He has endowed man with so many nice things, and yet he is not grateful to God. Man rolls in luxury and worldly possessions, and does not feel inspired by spiritual thoughts. He forgets that God allowed Himself to suffer and be crucified for the redemption of man. He turns to the Seven Deadly Sins and is blind to his spiritual heritage. God, therefore, wants man to render a true account of himself. This will enable man to redeem himself
Death comes to receive instructions about his duty. He is commanded to find out Everyman and ask him to present his true account. Death is inevitable, and determined to track down Everyman who is living amidst Worldly pleasures and lustful passion. Death summons him and tells him that he has to undertake a long journey and takes his full book of accounts. He has to be very careful in presenting his account because he has committed innumerable crimes and sins, and has very little virtue to his credit.
Everyman, caught unawares, replies that he is least prepared for death. He seeks to pacify Death by offering to bribe him. Death, however, remains adamant. Everyman asks if he has to go alone. Death concedes that he can take any companions, who may volunteer to go with him. He reminds him that his life was only a loan, and therefore, he must come back as early as possible. Everyman goes out to find out companions.
In deep despair Everyman thinks that his old friend Fellowship with whom he has passed his days in weal and woe, is sure to accompany him. He chances upon Fellowship, who makes anxious enquiries about his dejection. Everyman breaks the newy and informs him that he has been asked to undertake a journey. Fellowship readily agrees to accompany him even if he has to go to hell. Very much encouraged, Everyman tells him of the summons of Death. Fellowship realizes that death is an undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveller returns. Very glibly he goes back on his word and refuses to go with Everyman. He is his companion only in sports and play, or to seek lovely women.
It is a staggering blow for Everyman. Since blood is thicker than water, Everyman thinks that they should turn to his Kinsmen, who will not let him down. But belying his expectations they all refuse. Hoping against hope, he turns to his Cousin, who excuses himself on the ground that he has a cramp in the toe. Everyman then turns to Goods, i.e. his property. Good gives him a patient and sympathetic hearing. But as soon as he is told that he will have to go to God with him, he sharply declines.
Ashamed of having counted upon the fair-weather friend, Everyman asks Good Deeds to accompany him. The condition of Good Deeds is not pleasant. He likes to go, but is too weak to move. He is lying on the cold ground with his hands and feet tied. He asks Everyman to contact his sister, namely Knowledge. He will also accompany Everyman only when he feels a little stronger Knowledge readily agrees to escort Everyman. She at first leads him to confession, who lives in the house of Salvation. She is seeking Strength for Good Deeds, tying weak and run down Confession feels pity for Everyman and consents to give him penance for the emancipation of his Soul.
Everyman gladly whips himself for his penance. At once Good Deeds is revived and stirred to action. Now he can undertake the journey with Everyman. This is very much assuring. Knowledge then asks Everyman to wear the garment of penance. Good Deeds informs Everyman that three companions would walk with him for some time. They are Discretion, Strength, and Beauty. Five Senses also likes to go apart of the way. Every man no longer feels weak and despondent. Well fortified, he now sets out on his last journey. But before this he must receive the blessings of a priest, for without unction and ointment one cannot hope to see God.
Priests, the intermediaries of God, are indispensable in our spiritual quests. True, some priests are wicked and corrupt, and yet by and large they serve a noble purpose. Everyman will now encounter Delhi. The companions, who so long held out assurances to him that they would go with him, go back on their word Even Knowledge shows her reluctance. Good Deeds alone sticks to his promise. Knowledge, Strength, and Beauty help Everyman only to an extent. But Good Deeds remains loyal till the end.
The Angel extends a hearty welcome to Everyman as the elected bride of Christ. Everyman’s soul is taken away from his mortal remains, and he unhesitatingly renders a true account of himself.
Lastly, a Doctor enters and strikes a note of warning to all that Beauty, Strength, Discretion, and the Five Senses are not dependable. Good Deeds alone will stand a man in good stead in prosperity and adversity.
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