Everyman

Knowledge 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 Catholic Church—and she instructs Everyman to repent for his sins and take Catholic sacraments. Knowledge and Good-Deeds are the only companions to stay with Everyman until his death, which shows that knowledge is essential for navigating life on earth, but she ultimately leaves him when he dies. This shows, allegorically, that knowledge is unhelpful on Judgment Day.

Knowledge Quotes in Everyman

The Everyman quotes below are all either spoken by Knowledge or refer to Knowledge. 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

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:

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But when Jesus hanged on the cross with great smart
There he gave, out of his blessed heart,
The same sacrament in great torment:
He sold them not to us, that Lord Omnipotent.
Therefore Saint Peter the apostle doth say
That Jesu’s curse hath all they
Which God their Savior do buy or sell,
Or they for any money do take or tell.

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

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Knowledge Character Timeline in Everyman

The timeline below shows where the character Knowledge appears in Everyman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Everyman
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
...again that she is not able to do so, but that she has a sister, Knowledge, who can help him “make that dreadful reckoning.” (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... (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.” Knowledge instructs Everyman to kneel before Confession and to... (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… / Called penance, wise voider of adversity.” According to... (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 prays to God for forgiveness, reminding the audience of Adam’s sin... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
...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 sound” and able to join... (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... (full context)
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
...tells them that after he dies, most of his money is to go to charity. Knowledge then instructs Everyman to go to a priest for the holy sacrament and unction, while... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Knowledge continues the discussion on priesthood but qualifies Five-wits’ statements, saying that this is true only... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
...six companions to place their hand on it and to follow him. Strength, Discretion, and Knowledge promise to never leave him. As they continue on their journey, Everyman feels faint and... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
...Strength, Discretion, and Five-wits were not true friends to him, as Good-Deeds is. He asks Knowledge if she too will forsake him, and she replies that she will stay with him... (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 we all shall endure” and that... (full context)