Discuss the author’s perception of death and the treatment of death in Everyman. Be sure to re-read the play in Module/Week 7 before you begin your essay. You may review additional audio-visual resources on the play as well.
Different people have different perception regarding death, and thus several authors have presented this concept in different ways. Likewise, the author in Everyman has a unique perception of death and treatment of death. Everyman is a morality based story that demonstrates the value of death in human’s life. In this story, the author is presenting a spiritual message to the readers from God. The story discusses that different cultures take death with different perceptions, as a result of which it leaves different influences on the character of people within those groups or communities. The story, Everyman, is about a character which represents mankind and their perceptions regarding death linked with life's values, experiences, and morals CITATION And12 \l 1033 (Hadfield, 2012). On the other hand, the author has beautifully presented another character with the name ‘Death.' Both characters; Everyman and Death, aim to present a situation to the readers where they will realize how human beings have to pay for their actions on the day of the judgment. Everybody has to pay for his good or bad deeds, not only in the world but also on the day of the judgment. Death helps the individual to remain aware that their destiny is inevitable CITATION EAG07 \l 1033 (Fonseka, 2007). This concept always keeps a man in an alarming situation, where he remains conscious while attempting any wrong act and remain concerned to offer good deeds in life. The current study aims to evaluate the authors’ perception of death and treatment of death in the novel ‘Everyman.”
Death is an undeniable reality after which all actions performed in the world will become in vain. However, different communities have different beliefs, on which their perception of death depends. Some communities and cultures are of the view that their deeds will be answered at the day of judgment. The ones with good deeds will be rewards, whereas people with bad actions will be punished. On the contrary, some culture belief that death is the end of life, after which human beings will be questioned for nothing. However, the analysis of death makes one thing clear that life in the universe is temporary and it has to end with death. This simply means that greed, curse, and hate will lead the humanity to nowhere but to death, and so the short period on the universe must be spent happily and peacefully CITATION Pat17 \l 1033 (Badir, 2017).
The author in Everyman highlights that people often take death as fear, which leads to anxiety amongst them. Though the fear of death is common, this sometimes makes people unable to perform any task properly. One need to understand that death is the reality and everyone has to die, but it is only God who can control the death and life of an individual. God has given us life to spread love, peace, and glory in the universe, where everyone was sent with a mission. Now, it is the responsibility of human beings to fulfill their duties properly, perform their tasks appropriately, and obey God’s orders to die peacefully CITATION Laa68 \l 1033 (Laan, 1968).
The author in the story expressed that human beings are greedy by nature, and thus they run behind luxury lives, leverages, and wealth. Though human is aware of the fact that death will ruin their all properties and wealth, and they will be left with nothing but just their good or bad deeds, but this could not change their mind CITATION EAG07 \l 1033 (Fonseka, 2007). The author is of the view that God set a pattern of life and death, just to remind the human beings that life has to end, and so they must take all things temporary. As stated;
“Go thou to Everyman, And show him in my name, A pilgrimage he must on him take…” CITATION Pet10 \p 65 \l 1033 (Dorlandus, 1510, p. 65)
The author further expressed death as;
“Everyman I arrest and no man spare, for it is God's commandment that all to me should be obedient.”CITATION Pet10 \p 245 \l 1033 (Dorlandus, 1510, p. 245)
By this, he means that the individual who has come to earth once has to go back. Thus, one's wealth, luxury material, properties, and power is not going to stop the death and so he has to die when the God's order will be given CITATION Pau07 \l 1033 (Paulson, 2007). Also, when an individual understands this harsh reality of death, he never invests his energy in collecting material or wealth instead he understands that actual wealth of the human is good deeds, positive attitude, and preparation for a peaceful death. This understanding is crucial because no one will be able to purchase death or no one can avoid it by exchanging their wealth. Also, to make the story more interesting, the authors highlights everyman's attitude in keeping his all friends together, so that he won't be along on the day of judgment. In response, no one shows their interest to accompany everyman, after which he was left alone with what he had done in life CITATION Pau07 \l 1033 (Paulson, 2007). This is simply a message to mankind that earth is not a place to waste your life for others, as no one will support you at the time of judgment. The better way to spend a quality life is to help others when they are in need, not only physically or financially but morally and emotionally. In the end, the good deeds will accompany you and will protect you at the time of judgment. Thus, death will leave ones' material, cousins, fellowship, kindred, and friends behind and only the good or bad deeds will remain along at the time of judgment.
The author of the story Everyman has presented the character of death as submissive to God’s commands, as stated;
“[h]ere beginneth a treatise how the High Father of Heaven sendeth Death to summon every creature……” CITATION Pet10 \l 1033 (Dorlandus, 1510)
Through this statement, the authors make it clear that death orders are under the control of God, and thus no individual can either have it earlier or later. In actual, the world is just like a stage, where every person comes to perform his written scripts. Now, how well or bad he performs depends on his nature, approach, and thinking CITATION Pet10 \l 1033 (Dorlandus, 1510). This simply means that where a person will be born, how he will interact, and what actions will he perform are already written, but focusing on good deeds or doing things in worst manner is dependent over the personal approach of the individual. Some people get so much indulge in daily activities that they start loving their lives, here author highlighted the existence of death as a reality by a selection of words like;
“Death's visit troubles him.” CITATION Pet10 \l 1033 (Dorlandus, 1510)
The statement makes it clear that sometimes the people get afraid of death and starts bagging to God for providing them second chance to live their life in a better way and to make their day of judgment easier for them CITATION Pat17 \l 1033 (Badir, 2017). But the death won’t give them the second chance. In simple words, author’s perception regarding death is that it is a truth which has to come, after which the person will have no other chance to prove his worth and he will have to answer for his all deeds on the day of judgment.
Conclusively, through the literature ‘Everyman’ author aims to highlight the reality of life. The story has been presented from a different perspective, where the perception regarding death makes it clear that the material, wealth, and relations are not going to help anyone after death. It is only the good deeds which will make the individual happy and prominent amongst all, not only in the world but also after the death CITATION And12 \l 1033 (Hadfield, 2012). Also, the author highlights that death is not an event which can be planned, instead it is an order of God after which the individual will not get another chance. This harsh reality generates a fear amongst the people so that they remain prepared for the day of judgment and follow the right track of life CITATION Laa68 \l 1033 (Laan, 1968). It is the responsibility of all to help others, being loyal, and perform good deeds instead of being greedy, doing bad, or dealing with cruelty. Nothing is going to last for long, and so it is better to perform the God’s designated task in a good way and to spread love, care, and peace in the world, after which one will remain answerable at the time of judgment.
BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 Badir, P. (2017). Everyman. Wiley Online Library.
Dorlandus, P. (1510). Everyman.
Fonseka, E. G. (2007). A Critical Analysis of the English Morality Play EVERYMAN. Academia.
Hadfield, A. (2012). The Summoning of Everyman. The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama.
Laan, T. F. (1968). Everyman: A Structural Analysis. PMLA, 78(5), 465-475.
Paulson, J. (2007). DEATH'S ARRIVAL AND EVERYMAN'S SEPARATION. Theater Survey, 41(1).
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