362 Study Questions: Everyman
personification, dialogue, drama, mystery play, mystery
cycle, dramatis personae,
speech prefix, morality play, s. p. seven deadly sins,
Character Identification: Everyman, Death,
Five-Wits, Goods, Good Deeds.
Introduction: How is Everyman unusual
in its depiction of the vices when we contrast it with
most morality plays? When was the play written? The play
may be a translation of a foreign work written in what
Lecture: Is Everyman a
morality play or a miracle play?
- The messenger tells the audience to look well and
"take good heed" of what in the play?
- What is the "general reckoning" Everyman
will be summoned to in the Messenger's opening speech?
- Why is God "in all haste" to have this general reckoning?
(i.e., what happens to "all that liveth" that requires
God to hurry?)
- What "mighty messenger," does God send to talk to
Everyman and summon him to God's presence?
- What does Everyman offer the "mighty messenger" to
defer the matter of this troublesome summoning? What
is the Messenger's response?
- What does Fellowship initially promise to Everyman?
- How does Fellowship's attitude change when he discovers
Everyman's intended destination?
- What physical affliction does Cousin claim prevents
him from accompanying Everyman on his journey?
- What unusual human ability does the pile of gold
represented by Goods have? (Hint: Check out the vocabulary
- Goods claims that, for every man he saves, what does
he do to a thousand more?
- When Everyman first starts looking for his Good Deeds
(as opposed to "Goods"), where does he find him? (i.e.,
from where does Good Deeds speak? What put him in this
- What is the account book Good Deeds pulls out for
Everyman to examine?
- What character is the sister to Good Deeds?
- Who or what is the mother of Salvation?
- Examine the following characters: Good Deeds,
Goods, Discretion, Strength, Beauty, the Five Wits,
Knowledge, Cousin, and Fellowship. What are the last
two characters that are able to follow Everyman when
the others have been left behind? What is the only
character that is able to accompany Everyman beyond
death and speak on his behalf?
- Food for thought: Why is it that Everyman must leave
the stage when it comes time for him to partake of
the sacraments? Why would a medieval performer not
perform this on stage?
- Once Everyman and Good Deeds descend together into
the grave, to whom does Knowledge turn and speak?
A: "Here shall you see how fellowship
and jollity, / Both strength, pleasure, and beauty, / Will
fade from thee as flower in May. / For ye shall hear how
our Heaven-King / Calleth Everyman to a general reckoning."
B: Speaker #1: "Yet of my good will I give thee, if thou
will be kind, / Yea a thousand pound shalt thou have--
matter till another day."
Speaker #2: ". . . It may not be, by no way. I set nought
by gold, silver, nor riches, / Nor by pope, emperor, ki;ng,
duke, nor princes."
C: "And yet, if thou wilt eat and drink
and make good cheer, / Or haunt to women the lusty company,
/ I would
not forsake you while the day is clear, / Trust me verily!"
D: "Nay, Everyman, I say no. / As for a while I was lent
thee; / A season thou hast had me in prosperity. / My condition
is man's soul to kill; / If I save one, a thousand I do
spill. Weenest thou that I will follow thee? Nay, from
this world, not verrily."
E: [speaking from the ground] "Here
I lie, cold in the ground: / Thy sins hath me sore bound
/ That I cannot
F: "Now hath he suffered that we all shall endure, / The
Good Deeds shall make all sure. / Now hath he made ending,
/ Methinketh that I hear angels sing / And make great joy
and melody / Where Everyman's soul received shall be."