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Peter Van Diest Uses A Distinct

Peter van Diest uses a distinct awareness of death to show its significance in the lives of all people in the play Everyman. The inclusiveness of this drama closely aligns with phenomenon as a mechanism to instruct individuals on how to prepare for death. Death’s portrayal in the role of servant binds death and life in relation to the final reckoning of a person as he or she comes closer to the end of life. Throughout the plot in Everyman, the author uses specifically placed characters and events to depict a personal perception of death in this play of allegory and rectitude in relation to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

The play portrays a protagonist confronted by many personified moral challenges. The conflict between riches, relationships, and spiritual well-being emerge as the main objectives of focus. These attributes attempt to convince the protagonist to pursue a Godly life over a life with little respect to morality. Yaw Adu-Gyumfi defines the theme in stating that “This play is used to explain a series of moral lessons to the educated and uneducated” (265). The play pays special attention to the main character named Everyman, a person found perfectly content with the course of his life until his peace becomes interrupted by a character, Death, toward the end of his course. God is viewed as the sole authority through Death’s submission in the role of messenger, transporter, and carrier for God’s will. In this drama, van Diest uniquely crafts allegory when he specifically names characters to stand as symbols within the text. “The author usually made sure his primary intention, the allegorical thrust of the work, was rather evident. Modern Readers may interpret minute details or symbols in disparate ways, but there is sparingly room for disagreement on main points. Some critics agree that this is more than just an allegory” (Beicher 33-34). Thomas Van Laan refers to this play as a “high drama,” not just a “perfect allegory” (468). In this play, the transition between sinful life to sin-free life leads Everyman to a restful, peaceful death. In Everyman, symbolic characters and events portray the author’s perception of death in this drama of mortality.

The author uses character names as an essential way to render the main theme throughout the course of the play. The protagonist “Everyman” represents the decent, typical man, “…Everyman is supposed to represent all humanity…no social or political attributes…his predicament is more common to one class of humanity than another” (Kaula 10). He holds onto a greater emphasis of wealth, happiness in the present, and worldly pleasure. He has lived, like most people, without devoting themselves to the service of God’s kingdom. He exists in his own greed and banality, failing to recognize the coming day of death and judgment. This action of the common predicament illustrates how the protagonist stands to be interpreted as an allegorical character. Everyman’s attachment to Goods internally destroys his view of the necessity of a relationship with God. This serves as an allusion to the nature of today’s world in the context of the perpetual desire for possession of material goods. After being introduced to the main character and Goods, the reader observes the emergence of a messenger, Death, who has been called by God to approach Everyman. The abrupt arrival of Death in the text accurately portrays the reality of death as it seldom announces its impending arrival. Death delineates his powerful state as unyielding and unfeeling. God is personified in the text as perfect, infallible, and the creator of man and the world. God discusses His own experience with death in the play. The life of Christ symbolizes God’s own death. The text goes on to explain the reason why people decide to ignore Him. These actions are attributed to the fleshly desires of their own hearts. “Go thou to Everyman, And Show him…A pilgrimage he must on him take” (Everyman 66-68). This demonstrates the allegorical concept of the reality that all people face in death. As God commands for man to die, Death explains to Everyman the day approaching in which he will stand in judgement before God and give an account for all that he has done during his time among other people. Everyman attempts to bribe Death as he says “Yea, a thousand pound shalt though have- and defer this matter till another day” (Everyman 122-123). By the tone presented, the reader easily perceives the change in Everyman’s nature as he did not have adequate time to prepare for his “journey.” As Everyman attempts to rely on his friends Kindred and Fellowship, he notices that his friends have abandoned him and have not kept their promise to him. These two preceding characters stand as a testament to casual companionship and false friendship. This act highlights society’s pattern of abandonment at the end of an individual’s life.

With the abandonment of all of his friends, Everyman finds himself alone to ponder the question of who will accompany him on his journey to give his account to God for his actions. He calls on another personal friend, Good Deeds. Good Deeds, profoundly weak, will prove to be of no help to Everyman. In his lifetime, Everyman has been hardly able to collect any good deeds to correct the balance of good and evil. Obviously of no help to his situation, Good Deeds calls in her sister, Knowledge, to accompany Everyman on his journey. She explains to Everyman how to be saved from the negative things. Being met by Confession, Everyman follows suit to confess all of the sins of his past, present, and future as he states “Repent with hearty and full contrition for I am commanded a pilgrimage to take…” (Everyman 549-550). It is essential to note the significance in adherence to the act pertaining to the essence of good deeds as the momentous moment of confession occurs.

After the confession, Good Deeds reemerges to accompany him to God because “His good works I will help him to declare” (Everyman 622). These works are significant in that Good Deeds is healthy and whole again, placing Everyman in a state of readiness to proceed. Despite the ultimate abandonment of Discretion, Strength, his Five Wits, and Beauty at the grave, but Good Deeds remains by his side and helps him cross into death and to heaven as he proclaims, “Nay, Everyman, I will abide by thee, I will not forsake thee indeed” (Everyman 853-854). Upon arrival, they are greeted by Angel. At the conclusion of the play, Doctor has a brief conversation where he gives Everyman some clarity. Through the presentation of clarity, van Diest illustrates the play’s naïve simplicity and steadfast sincerity in relation to the modern appeal to readers as presented by virtue of the comparison to contemporary society. The conversation consists of advice that says friends in life will ultimately abandon a person, but one must always seek Good Deeds because she will always lead to heaven. “Save his Good Deeds there doth he take But beware, for and they be small Before God, he hath no help at all” (Everyman 910-912). The characters’ attribute as allegorical in that they all serve the purpose of their names. The purpose of each character illustrates to Christians how they must live to achieve soul salvation. By the presentation of Salvation, the philosophical promise to the Catholic Church on its future becomes more of a here-and now concept. In regards to Death, Salvation forces it to become more of a reality-based form versus an abstract form of a place beyond the audience’s imagination.

Through the portrayal of the allegorical characters, the author is able to convey his theme of death to the reader. The intention of this morality drama is to promote an understanding that we will all face death in the end and we cannot escape its wrath. “Everyman’s purpose is to dramatize spiritual peril and the means of salvation, but its method in doing so reflects earthly concerns that are both concrete and particular” (Harper 265). The author bids to demonstrate that Death’s electrifying force inhabits all beings, waiting until the right moment to make its emergence.

Subsequently, the elemental realization in this drama substantiates that not all people are prepared to face death when it comes to them. The variety of characters in the play demonstrate the stages of preparation for death. The author uses the confrontation and bribery of Death to demonstrate how many humans react when they are being faced with death. They react by asking God to spare them and not yet take them. As in reality, Death lies under the control of God. The objective of Death is not to determine when to approach on the individual person. God is the arbitrator when Death strikes, and the nature of humanity has no control to halt it, “I may say Death giveth no warning”. Last, the author uses the plot to show the varying action of humans when facing death, as Everyman realizes “For all unready is my book of reckoning” (Everyman 134). The act of which Everyman calls his friends to come to his aid proves their unimportance. This is to demonstrate that these things will be left behind when Death comes to take man. After making a key realization, Everyman comes to understand what is really necessary as he seeks out Good Deeds, who introduces him to Knowledge, and finally to Confession. After the meeting with Confession and his subsequent profession of sin, he realizes that Good Deeds needs to accompany him to give his account to God. The example here demonstrates to the reader that one must hold good deeds within one’s heart before death comes.

The appearance of Doctor in the epilogue symbolizes the wisdom that one must have upon death. The words of advice given by the scholarly character in the end shifts the main focus to one aspect of life: Good Deeds. In his short statement, Doctor advises Everyman to focus only on the good deeds that one must accomplish in life. Consequently, it proves to be of the upmost importance to mostly ignore aspects such as Strength and Beauty. In reality, these things will only last but a short season and then they will pass away; all other aspects of life will not remain in the afterlife. From the moral standpoint, the subject of judgment must be approached with positivity. Everyman’s constant devotion to Goods has made his life very miserable as it kills the soul. Death “lends” worldly goods and life to all people; in the same realm, God loves His creation and wants nothing more than to save it forever, evidenced by Everyman being an “elect,” a beneficiary to the atoning sacrifice made on mankind’s behalf.

In this powerful medieval morality play, Peter van Diest exquisitely uses allegorical characters to present that death stands as a powerful and inevitable force that will soon, with the permission of God, take us all. Everyman is unprepared to face God when the appointed time to die comes. Through the help of Knowledge and Confession, Everyman finally realizes that Good Deeds is the only person that may accompany and help him when he comes to stand before God. This realization occurs as the result that Knowledge arises the consciousness of Christianity and the need of good deeds for salvation. As the writer demonstrates, we are to live in the context of a proper religious lifestyle in order to adequately prepare for God’s judgement. Just as Everyman came to understand reality, the reader should come to realize that death stands as an implacable force and comes when one is not expecting it. This play serves an example of how everyone should live and die in accordance with each other. “Everyman goes far beyond the overly simple moral lesson that is likely at first glance to be taken as its theme: ‘Do good deeds and you will be saved’” (Ryan 725). Unquestionably, through the use of allegorical characters and the imminent portrayal of Death, the examination of Christian salvation and what Man must do to attain it becomes exclusively evident in the context of the Roman Catholic Church’s emphasis on good works and the Catholic sacraments required for promotion to the afterlife.Peter van Diest uses a distinct awareness of death to show its significance in the lives of all people in the play Everyman. The inclusiveness of this drama closely aligns with phenomenon as a mechanism to instruct individuals on how to prepare for death. Death’s portrayal in the role of servant binds death and life in relation to the final reckoning of a person as he or she comes closer to the end of life. Throughout the plot in Everyman, the author uses specifically placed characters and events to depict a personal perception of death in this play of allegory and rectitude in relation to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

The play portrays a protagonist confronted by many personified moral challenges. The conflict between riches, relationships, and spiritual well-being emerge as the main objectives of focus. These attributes attempt to convince the protagonist to pursue a Godly life over a life with little respect to morality. Yaw Adu-Gyumfi defines the theme in stating that “This play is used to explain a series of moral lessons to the educated and uneducated” (265). The play pays special attention to the main character named Everyman, a person found perfectly content with the course of his life until his peace becomes interrupted by a character, Death, toward the end of his course. God is viewed as the sole authority through Death’s submission in the role of messenger, transporter, and carrier for God’s will. In this drama, van Diest uniquely crafts allegory when he specifically names characters to stand as symbols within the text. “The author usually made sure his primary intention, the allegorical thrust of the work, was rather evident. Modern Readers may interpret minute details or symbols in disparate ways, but there is sparingly room for disagreement on main points. Some critics agree that this is more than just an allegory” (Beicher 33-34). Thomas Van Laan refers to this play as a “high drama,” not just a “perfect allegory” (468). In this play, the transition between sinful life to sin-free life leads Everyman to a restful, peaceful death. In Everyman, symbolic characters and events portray the author’s perception of death in this drama of mortality.

The author uses character names as an essential way to render the main theme throughout the course of the play. The protagonist “Everyman” represents the decent, typical man, “…Everyman is supposed to represent all humanity…no social or political attributes…his predicament is more common to one class of humanity than another” (Kaula 10). He holds onto a greater emphasis of wealth, happiness in the present, and worldly pleasure. He has lived, like most people, without devoting themselves to the service of God’s kingdom. He exists in his own greed and banality, failing to recognize the coming day of death and judgment. This action of the common predicament illustrates how the protagonist stands to be interpreted as an allegorical character. Everyman’s attachment to Goods internally destroys his view of the necessity of a relationship with God. This serves as an allusion to the nature of today’s world in the context of the perpetual desire for possession of material goods. After being introduced to the main character and Goods, the reader observes the emergence of a messenger, Death, who has been called by God to approach Everyman. The abrupt arrival of Death in the text accurately portrays the reality of death as it seldom announces its impending arrival. Death delineates his powerful state as unyielding and unfeeling. God is personified in the text as perfect, infallible, and the creator of man and the world. God discusses His own experience with death in the play. The life of Christ symbolizes God’s own death. The text goes on to explain the reason why people decide to ignore Him. These actions are attributed to the fleshly desires of their own hearts. “Go thou to Everyman, And Show him…A pilgrimage he must on him take” (Everyman 66-68). This demonstrates the allegorical concept of the reality that all people face in death. As God commands for man to die, Death explains to Everyman the day approaching in which he will stand in judgement before God and give an account for all that he has done during his time among other people. Everyman attempts to bribe Death as he says “Yea, a thousand pound shalt though have- and defer this matter till another day” (Everyman 122-123). By the tone presented, the reader easily perceives the change in Everyman’s nature as he did not have adequate time to prepare for his “journey.” As Everyman attempts to rely on his friends Kindred and Fellowship, he notices that his friends have abandoned him and have not kept their promise to him. These two preceding characters stand as a testament to casual companionship and false friendship. This act highlights society’s pattern of abandonment at the end of an individual’s life.

With the abandonment of all of his friends, Everyman finds himself alone to ponder the question of who will accompany him on his journey to give his account to God for his actions. He calls on another personal friend, Good Deeds. Good Deeds, profoundly weak, will prove to be of no help to Everyman. In his lifetime, Everyman has been hardly able to collect any good deeds to correct the balance of good and evil. Obviously of no help to his situation, Good Deeds calls in her sister, Knowledge, to accompany Everyman on his journey. She explains to Everyman how to be saved from the negative things. Being met by Confession, Everyman follows suit to confess all of the sins of his past, present, and future as he states “Repent with hearty and full contrition for I am commanded a pilgrimage to take…” (Everyman 549-550). It is essential to note the significance in adherence to the act pertaining to the essence of good deeds as the momentous moment of confession occurs.

After the confession, Good Deeds reemerges to accompany him to God because “His good works I will help him to declare” (Everyman 622). These works are significant in that Good Deeds is healthy and whole again, placing Everyman in a state of readiness to proceed. Despite the ultimate abandonment of Discretion, Strength, his Five Wits, and Beauty at the grave, but Good Deeds remains by his side and helps him cross into death and to heaven as he proclaims, “Nay, Everyman, I will abide by thee, I will not forsake thee indeed” (Everyman 853-854). Upon arrival, they are greeted by Angel. At the conclusion of the play, Doctor has a brief conversation where he gives Everyman some clarity. Through the presentation of clarity, van Diest illustrates the play’s naïve simplicity and steadfast sincerity in relation to the modern appeal to readers as presented by virtue of the comparison to contemporary society. The conversation consists of advice that says friends in life will ultimately abandon a person, but one must always seek Good Deeds because she will always lead to heaven. “Save his Good Deeds there doth he take But beware, for and they be small Before God, he hath no help at all” (Everyman 910-912). The characters’ attribute as allegorical in that they all serve the purpose of their names. The purpose of each character illustrates to Christians how they must live to achieve soul salvation. By the presentation of Salvation, the philosophical promise to the Catholic Church on its future becomes more of a here-and now concept. In regards to Death, Salvation forces it to become more of a reality-based form versus an abstract form of a place beyond the audience’s imagination.

Through the portrayal of the allegorical characters, the author is able to convey his theme of death to the reader. The intention of this morality drama is to promote an understanding that we will all face death in the end and we cannot escape its wrath. “Everyman’s purpose is to dramatize spiritual peril and the means of salvation, but its method in doing so reflects earthly concerns that are both concrete and particular” (Harper 265). The author bids to demonstrate that Death’s electrifying force inhabits all beings, waiting until the right moment to make its emergence.

Subsequently, the elemental realization in this drama substantiates that not all people are prepared to face death when it comes to them. The variety of characters in the play demonstrate the stages of preparation for death. The author uses the confrontation and bribery of Death to demonstrate how many humans react when they are being faced with death. They react by asking God to spare them and not yet take them. As in reality, Death lies under the control of God. The objective of Death is not to determine when to approach on the individual person. God is the arbitrator when Death strikes, and the nature of humanity has no control to halt it, “I may say Death giveth no warning”. Last, the author uses the plot to show the varying action of humans when facing death, as Everyman realizes “For all unready is my book of reckoning” (Everyman 134). The act of which Everyman calls his friends to come to his aid proves their unimportance. This is to demonstrate that these things will be left behind when Death comes to take man. After making a key realization, Everyman comes to understand what is really necessary as he seeks out Good Deeds, who introduces him to Knowledge, and finally to Confession. After the meeting with Confession and his subsequent profession of sin, he realizes that Good Deeds needs to accompany him to give his account to God. The example here demonstrates to the reader that one must hold good deeds within one’s heart before death comes.

The appearance of Doctor in the epilogue symbolizes the wisdom that one must have upon death. The words of advice given by the scholarly character in the end shifts the main focus to one aspect of life: Good Deeds. In his short statement, Doctor advises Everyman to focus only on the good deeds that one must accomplish in life. Consequently, it proves to be of the upmost importance to mostly ignore aspects such as Strength and Beauty. In reality, these things will only last but a short season and then they will pass away; all other aspects of life will not remain in the afterlife. From the moral standpoint, the subject of judgment must be approached with positivity. Everyman’s constant devotion to Goods has made his life very miserable as it kills the soul. Death “lends” worldly goods and life to all people; in the same realm, God loves His creation and wants nothing more than to save it forever, evidenced by Everyman being an “elect,” a beneficiary to the atoning sacrifice made on mankind’s behalf.

In this powerful medieval morality play, Peter van Diest exquisitely uses allegorical characters to present that death stands as a powerful and inevitable force that will soon, with the permission of God, take us all. Everyman is unprepared to face God when the appointed time to die comes. Through the help of Knowledge and Confession, Everyman finally realizes that Good Deeds is the only person that may accompany and help him when he comes to stand before God. This realization occurs as the result that Knowledge arises the consciousness of Christianity and the need of good deeds for salvation. As the writer demonstrates, we are to live in the context of a proper religious lifestyle in order to adequately prepare for God’s judgement. Just as Everyman came to understand reality, the reader should come to realize that death stands as an implacable force and comes when one is not expecting it. This play serves an example of how everyone should live and die in accordance with each other. “Everyman goes far beyond the overly simple moral lesson that is likely at first glance to be taken as its theme: ‘Do good deeds and you will be saved’” (Ryan 725). Unquestionably, through the use of allegorical characters and the imminent portrayal of Death, the examination of Christian salvation and what Man must do to attain it becomes exclusively evident in the context of the Roman Catholic Church’s emphasis on good works and the Catholic sacraments required for promotion to the afterlife.