Everyman

by

Anonymous

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Everyman Character Analysis

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 good and bad deeds), Everyman panics and begins asking for help where he has typically found it—from his friends, his family, and his wealth. The turning point of Everyman’s character—and of the play overall—is Everyman’s realization that nobody can help him besides Good Deeds and Knowledge. Through them, he learns to purge his sins and reject the material world in favor of the divine.

Everyman Quotes in Everyman

The Everyman quotes below are all either spoken by Everyman or refer to Everyman. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of Everyman published in 1995.
Everyman Quotes

Drowned in sin, they know me not for their God;
In worldly riches is all their mind,
They fear not my rightwiseness, the sharp rod;
My law that I shewed, when I for them died,
They forget clean, and shedding of my blood red;
I hanged between two, it cannot be denied;
To get them life I suffered to be dead

Related Characters: God (speaker), Everyman
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

I set not by gold, silver, nor riches,
Ne by pope, emperor, king, duke, ne princess.
For and I would receive gifts great,
All the world I might get;
But my custom is clean contrary.
I give thee no respite: come hence, and not tarry.

Related Characters: Death (speaker), Everyman
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

Now in good faith, I will not that way.
But and thou wilt murder, or any man kill,
In that I will help thee with a good will!

Whether ye have loved me or no,
By Saint John, I will not with thee go.

Related Characters: Fellowship (speaker), Everyman
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

That is to thy damnation without lesing,
For my love is contrary to the love everlasting.
But if thou had me loved moderately during,
As, to the poor give part of me,
Then shouldst thou not in this dolour be,
Nor in this great sorrow and care.

Related Characters: Goods (speaker), Everyman
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

Yea, sir, I may thank you of all;
If ye had perfectly cheered me,
Your book of account now full ready had be.
Look, the books of your works and deeds eke;
Oh, see how they lie under the feet,
To your soul’s heaviness.

Related Characters: Good-Deeds (speaker), Everyman
Related Symbols: Reckoning
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

I come with Knowledge for my redemption,
Repent with hearty and full contrition;
For I am commanded a pilgrimage to take,
And great accounts before God to take,
Now, I pray you, Shift, mother of salvation,
Help my good deeds for my piteous exclamation.

Related Characters: Everyman (speaker), Knowledge, Confession
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:

In the name of the Holy Trinity,
My body sore punished shall be:
Take this body for the sin of the flesh;
Also thou delightest to go gay and fresh,
And in the way of damnation thou did me bring;
Therefore suffer now strokes and punishing.
Now of penance I will wade the water clear,
To save me from purgatory, that sharp fire.

Related Characters: Everyman (speaker), God
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

God will you to salvation bring,
For priesthood exceedeth all other thing;
To us Holy Scripture they do teach,
And converteth man from sin heaven to reach;
God hath to them more power given,
Than to any angel that is in heaven

Related Characters: Five-Wits (speaker), Everyman, God
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

Everyman: Take example, all ye that this do hear or see,
How they that I loved best do forsake me,
Except my Good-Deeds that bideth truly.
Good-Deeds: All earthly things is but vanity:
Beauty, Strength, and Discretion, do man forsake,
Foolish friends and kinsmen, that fair spake,
All fleeth save Good-Deeds, and that am I.

Related Characters: Everyman (speaker), Good-Deeds (speaker), Beauty, Strength, Discretion
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Everyman LitChart as a printable PDF.
Everyman PDF

Everyman Character Timeline in Everyman

The timeline below shows where the character Everyman appears in Everyman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Everyman
Death Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
The messenger opens the play, by calling for the audience’s attention to “The Summoning of Everyman.” He says that the play will demonstrate the “transitory” nature of mortal lives and the... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Death enters, and God orders him to tell Everyman that he must immediately go on a pilgrimage “in [God’s] name” and bring with him... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Death approaches Everyman, asking if he has forgotten his maker and informing him that God wants a reckoning... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
Everyman exclaims that Death came when he had least expected him, and then he tries to... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
At a loss for what to do, Everyman seeks his friend Fellowship for comfort, expecting that Fellowship will accompany him on his journey.... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
However, when Everyman reveals that he must soon face God’s judgment and would like company on his journey,... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Fellowship leaves, and Everyman wonders aloud about who could help him. He realizes that friendship cannot help him, quoting... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
After learning of Everyman’s fate, Cousin and Kindred are unwilling to help him. Cousin makes the excuse that his... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
Alone again, Everyman laments the loss of Fellowship, Kindred, and Cousin, who have all forsaken him. Wondering to... (full context)
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
Goods, however, “sing[s] another song.” He says that if he accompanied Everyman, Everyman’s situation would be even worse than it already is, and he explains that Everyman’s... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Goods further explains that if Everyman had loved Goods only moderately and had “to the poor give[n] part of me,” Everyman... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Once alone, Everyman laments his situation, pondering whom he can ask to accompany him on his pilgrimage. His... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
Everyman calls out for Good-Deeds, who “lie[s] cold in the ground,” weakened by Everyman’s sins. Everyman... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
Good-Deeds’s sister Knowledge appears, offering herself as Everyman’s guide. Happy that something good has finally happened, Everyman thanks “God my Creator.” Good-Deeds tells... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
Everyman asks where “that holy man, Confession” lives, and Knowledge replies, “In the house of salvation.”... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
Confession, who already knows of Everyman’s predicament, agrees to help because he came with Knowledge. He gives Everyman “a precious jewel…... (full context)
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
Everyman thanks God and sets out to begin his penance with Knowledge by his side. He... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
...Good-Deeds appears and announces that she has been healed and is now able to accompany Everyman on his pilgrimage. When Knowledge tells Everyman to be happy, as Good-Deeds is “whole and... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
Knowledge again tells Everyman to be happy, as he will go to heaven. She gives him a “garment of... (full context)
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Beauty appears with Discretion, Strength, and Five-wits, ready to assist Everyman. At Good-Deeds’ request, they all agree to join Everyman on his pilgrimage, causing Everyman to... (full context)
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
At this point, Five-wits makes a speech about priests, telling Everyman that priests have greater authority than any political ruler because they are commissioned by God.... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
...that they should choose to honor priesthood. He cuts short the discussion when he sees Everyman, who “hath made true satisfaction,” approaching. (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Everyman returns, saying that he has received the Eucharist and unction. He takes out a cross,... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
Beauty, shocked that Everyman is expecting her to die, decides to leave, refusing to look back, not even for... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Everyman cries out to Jesus, saying that everyone has forsaken him, but Good-Deeds corrects him, promising... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
As the souls of Everyman and Good-Deeds leave their bodies, Knowledge remains on earth. She remarks that Everyman “suffered that... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
...us to “forsake pride” and reminds us that Beauty, Five-wits, Strength, and Discretion all abandon Everyman, and that when we are judged by God, we are alone, save for Good-Deeds. He... (full context)