What are the symbolic lessons in Everyman- how do they carry throughout the play and how can they be related to your own life?
Everyman focus on themes of life and death that are linked to medieval times. Symbolism is present in characters of Good Deeds, Death, and Confession. Symbolism is apparent throughout the play that allows readers to understand lessons of life. Allegory is also prominent in the play that depicts its relationship with my own life. The themes of the play have thus close relevance with the lives of people. It further transmits the transformation of a man from a sinful life to a pious one. To overcome bad deeds and sins, one must indulge himself in good deeds and acts of piety. The play portrays the deceptive appearance of the sin that devalues the lives of people. Symbolism depicts that in the current world sin emerge in various forms that are illusionary.
The character of Good-Deeds has a deeper symbolic meaning apparent in costume and actions. Good-Deeds refers to charitable acts and practices related to humanity. This is shown as a strong character that focuses on going along with everyman before he dies. The symbolism is not limited to the acts of charity, but the costume reflects happiness, peace, and serenity. This emphasizes on the philosophy that every man in this world must do good deeds before he dies. Symbolism thus has a significant correlation with my life. I am convinced that one must indulge in good deeds that include charities, donations and supporting the poor. This is much required in the current world where society is divided between two halves; the wealthy and the poor. I believe that the character of Good Deeds is linked to everyone's life because it stresses on the concept of helping mankind. This is also related to my life because I must use part of my earnings on supporting the disadvantaged and poor. The themes influence me to get rid of my sins by engaging in deeds that adds to piety and virtue. This depicts the significance of good deeds like charitable acts and helping people suffering from famine or hunger CITATION All73 \l 1033 (Goldhamer, 1973).
Symbolism indicates that good-deeds is linked to the medieval times when people cared about God and their connection with nature. Because in every period human being adopted similar behaviors of helping the poor, this exhibits an association of present time with the medieval period. The need for doing good deeds become more crucial when a human being is headed towards death. This reveals the concept of religion and the role of nature that defines the obligation of people towards society. Religious beliefs like Christianity states that good deeds are important because they provide admittance to heaver. This reflects that belief that after death human beings can enter heaven only if they have done good deeds. The common good deed that the play refers to is of charities that provide opportunities for survival to the poor. It is thus most important for securing a place in paradise. The themes have deeper impacts on human beings because it guides them to refrain from evil or bad deeds. Good deeds are important for maintaining one’s relationship with God and for seeking mercy. It is quoted, “the immediate origins of the morality play are in the tradition of sermons and penitential literature is advocating repentance and preaching the forgiveness of sins" CITATION Cam06 \l 1033 (Hunt-Logan, 2006).
Symbolism also reveals the role of Confession that means admitting the sins that a human committed in his life. This is crucial for all humans who believe that they have faith in religion. Without committing sins, one cannot prove his virtue or piety. The ideology of Confession also has a strong relationship with my life because I believe that I have committed sins and for securing a place in paradise, Confession is essential. Without accepting sins, an individual according to Christian faith cannot enter paradise. This is also an essential step for reconciliation. The play states, “Job’s faith in a personal redeemer and his belief in an afterlife in which all of this world’s injustices will be righted were considered to be his primary response to righteous suffering even though the presence of these motifs in the biblical text is dubious at best” CITATION Cam06 \l 1033 (Hunt-Logan, 2006).
In order to purify from sins, one needs to undergo the process of confession. This stage occurs only when people consider their relationship with religion. Confession has a significant correlation with my personal life as I have committed sins in my life, so it is essential for me to confess in the church. This exhibits by faith in Jesus and God CITATION All73 \l 1033 (Goldhamer, 1973). The play states, “and I shall be clothed again in my skin, and in my flesh, I will see my God. Whom I myself shall see, and my eyes shall behold, and not another: this my hope is laid up in my bosom” CITATION Cam06 \l 1033 (Hunt-Logan, 2006). People having belief in religion believes that one needs to purify from sins before returning to the grave. Only after confession one gets the hope of entering paradise.
Death symbolizes the sinful nature of man as the grave is an impediment and final destination so humans must aim for a dignified death. It is a process of a learning experience because it starts with sins and ends with confession CITATION And122 \l 1033 (Hadfield, 2012). This is linked to my life because I know that I have to die on the day. The feeling of death convinces an individual to commit good deeds and confess for attaining spirituality and peace. The play quotes, “so man when he is fallen asleep shall not rise again; till the heavens be broken, he shall not awake, nor rise up out of his sleep. Who will grant me this, that thou mayest protect me in hell, and hide me until thy wrath pass and appoint me a time when thou wilt remember me?” CITATION Cam06 \l 1033 (Hunt-Logan, 2006). This indicates that the only way of avoiding hell is by doing good deeds before death. The ideology has a close association with my life because religion defines the way of attaining a place in paradise. One who has faith in God will accept his bad deeds and confess due to the fear of returning to him. This indicates that religion and faith convince people to confess before deaths.
The writer of the play used symbolism for building the medieval period with the modern one. The themes of the play are still existent in the current world settings. My life can be related to the dominant characters of the play that include Good Deeds, Confession, and Death. A deeper analysis of these characters indicates that humans commit sins in the form of envy, beauty, power, wealth and lust but before death, they need to confess to claim their piety or virtue. Without Good Deeds and Confession one cannot return to the grave with dignity and honor. The play reflects the connection of the medieval period with the modern one. The beliefs and process of attaining peace are the same. Christians in modern time spend their money on charities and donations for doing good deeds.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Goldhamer, A. D. (1973). Everyman: A dramatization of death. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 53 (1).
Hunt-Logan, C. (2006). The influence of the "Book of Job" on the Middle English morality plays. University of South Florida.
Hadfield, A. (2012). Everyman. The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama.
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