external image holdod16.jpgThe Summoning of EVERYMAN:
Synopsis Of EVERYMAN: Everyman tells --
1. how every man is summoned by Death because God desires a reckoning;
2. how Friendship, Kindred and Goods refuse to accompany him on his journey;
3. how Knowledge helps him strengthen Good Deeds to accompany him;
4. how Beauty, Strength, and Five Wits desert him one by one as he approaches the grave;
5. how Good Deeds alone accompanies him on his journey.
Everyman is as fearful of dying as the rest of us. When Death identifies himself, Everyman does what every cowardly person would do, he begs for more time, saying he's not ready, and when all else fails, he tries to bribe Death.
Worse than being a bogey-man, Death is businesslike and offers unarguable reasons why he cannot be bribed.
When Everyman knows that the summons is inescapable, he turns in the wrong direction. He expects other people to save him. Friendship and Kindred are false friends who promise to accompany him on his journey; yet each forsakes him when they hear of his destination.
Then Everyman goes even further afield, to Goods. He expects his worldly wealth to save him. Trust in other mortals is useless, but trust in Goods is damnable.
In despair, Everyman turns at last to Good Deeds (who could save him if strong). Like Goods (a nice touch of parallelism), Good Deeds is bound up, but for a different reason. Good Deeds is pitiably weak. Only if strengthened, can his Good Deeds save him.
From this point on, Everyman's fortunes improve, and he gains various friends. These friends -- parts of himself -- are more reliable than the earlier ones, and Everyman becomes hopeful and happy. But again, he must be disappointed: Beauty, Strength, Five Wits, and Knowledge will not pass with him through the grave. He expects his own physical properties to save him.
Knowledge helps Everyman strengthen Good Deeds because when Everyman knows he has sinned, he has the Knowledge to repent.
Ultimately only Good Deeds can accompany him for his reckoning.

external image every.gifThis morality play seeks to answer the important religious question: "What must a man do to be saved?" God sends Death to summon Everyman, who represents all mankind. Good and Evil will be tallied like pluses and minuses in an account book. The play is the story of Everyman's journey to this final reckoning.

Along the way, Everyman tries to convince other characters to accompany him in the hope of improving his account. The other characters are also allegorical; that is, each character personifies an abstract idea. The conflict between good and evil is dramatized by the interactions between characters. The play shows us not only how every man should meet death but also how every man should live.

Everyman is a dramatized allegory. An allegory is a narrative in which the characters and action, and sometimes the setting as well, have two levels of meaning. The first level is literal -- a man is going on a trip. The second level is symbolic -- Everyman's life is a journey from birth to death, and every man makes this same trip. An allegory must make sense at both levels. All of the literal pieces will fit together to tell a story -- what happens. In addition, all of the symbolic pieces will fit together to teach a moral -- what the story means.

For example, John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory teaching the doctrines of Christian salvation. The hero, named Christian, is warned by Evangelist to flee the City of Destruction and seek the Celestial City. En route Christian encounters such characters as Faithful, the Giant Despair, and Mr. Worldly Wiseman. He passes through places like the Slough of Despond, the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and Vanity Fair. On the literal level, this is an exciting adventure story. On the symbolic level, however, each adventure also teaches a moral lesson.

Source: http://homepage.mac.com/mseffie/assignments/everyman/everymansg.html