Everyman Analysis Essay

Words: 1867
Pages: 8

Analysis of Death in “Everyman”


Outline 1. Give brief overview of Death a. Discuss when he appears and for what reason b. Discuss his objectives and what his reason for being there is c. Discuss who he is talking to d. Give thesis statement 2. Quote the excerpt of Death’s conversation with God 3. Quote the excerpt of Trussler and his summary of the conversation 4. Discuss the atypical depiction of Death e. Follow up with Ron Tanner’s quotation about the humor in the scene 5. Quote Davenport f. Kafkaesque 6. Discuss the influence Christianity and the Catholic Church had on drama during the 15th century g. Quote Moses’ and his synopsis of the matter 7.
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The description by Tanner of Everyman calling Death both gentle and noble as Death is ominously towering over him attests to this. It is also worth noting the moral implications of this scene as the impossibility of negotiating with death is demonstrated. Death is no respecter of persons and shows no favoritism to young or old, rich or poor. Everyman’s failure to bribe or buy off Death demonstrates this.
In his book entitled “Fifteenth-century English drama: the early moral plays and their literary”, William Anthony Davenport further expounds on Death’s role in the play Everyman.
The play’s concentration on the theme of the coming of death and preparation for it give it force and unity. The central image of a journey and the idea of the pain of leaving and saying good-bye to life add emotional appeal. The feeling of inevitability is a strong persuasion to the hearer to understand the play as tragedy. The painful acquisition of knowledge of self and the world is a tragic theme… we can see in Death’s summons the timeless idea of an arraignment before a court for crimes we did not know we had committed. It is the Kafkaesque element in the play that has the strongest grip, the sense that the consciousness of approaching death, which plays a part in the repentance scenes of…the other moralities, is expanded into a controlling metaphor for the human