Representing all humankind, Everyman begins the play entrenched in worldly vices, such as lust and greed. However, when God asks Death to visit Everyman and ask him to prepare a reckoning (an account of his… (read full character analysis)
Death is God’s messenger. He informs Everyman that he must take a pilgrimage to his grave and be called to account for his actions on earth. Though Death obviously represents death, it’s important to note… (read full character analysis)
Good-Deeds is the personification of Everyman’s good deeds. She is weak when she is introduced, as Everyman’s sinful behavior has depleted her, but she becomes stronger and stronger as Everyman purges his sins. Good-Deeds accompanies… (read full character analysis)
The sister of Good-Deeds, Knowledge guides Everyman on his pilgrimage when Good-Deeds is still too weak to do so. She represents knowledge—not knowledge in general, but the specific the knowledge and teachings of the… (read full character analysis)
God appears in the play only once. Near the beginning, he criticizes Everyman’s sinfulness and his ungrateful disregard of Christ’s sacrifice for humanity, and then orders Death to summon Everyman to God’s judgment. God’s summoning of Everyman drives the plot of the play.
The personification of confession, he is described as both a “cleansing river” and a “holy man” who lives in a “house of salvation.” He helps purge Everyman of his sins and gives him the gift of penance.
The personification of beauty (and thus a facet of the material world), Beauty joins Everyman on his pilgrimage but forsakes him when he asks her to die for him. This shows that beauty is fickle and irrelevant in heaven.
One of Everyman’s companions, Discretion represents the ability to make judgments and choices. He (or she) abandons Everyman to follow Strength.
Personifying friendship, Fellowship is one of Everyman’s friends. Though Everyman asks for his help on the pilgrimage, Fellowship abandons Everyman after learning that he will soon die. Willing to help Everyman only for his own amusement or for the sake of violence, Fellowship enables Everyman’s sins.
Though long loved by Everyman, Goods—the personification of wealth in the play— abandons Everyman when Everyman asks him to join his pilgrimage. A thief of souls, Goods is often destructive and deceitful, leading a thousand people to hell for every one that he saves.
Everyman’s cousin, who abandons Everyman in his time of need to save himself and to prepare his own reckoning.
Everyman’s kindred, who refuses to accompany Everyman on his journey after promising to remain loyal to him.
Delivering the play’s epilogue, the doctor summarizes the moral of the story: we can only rely on our good deeds for comfort and salvation, and we must clear our “reckonings” while we are still alive, lest we suffer eternally in hell.
Like God, the messenger appears only once at the very beginning of the play, where he calls for the audience’s attention and presents Everyman as a “moral play.”
Appearing only at the end of the play, the angel announces Everyman’s entrance into heaven.