Also referred to as a “book of count” or “counting book,” the reckoning is the ledger book of all of Everyman’s good and evil deeds. The premise of the play is that Everyman must embark on a pilgrimage to the afterlife and present his reckoning to God, who will decide whether Everyman goes to heaven or hell. The reckoning therefore symbolizes both God’s judgement of Everyman’s soul and Everyman’s actions, which are what God will judge. In the beginning of the play, Everyman, who is consumed with wealth and desire, has a reckoning without many good deeds in it. Everyman’s greed and lust has stained his soul, and thus his reckoning, prompting his frenzied search for a companion to accompany him to what he believes will be hell. However, by the end of the play, Everyman, with the help of Good-Deeds, manages to clear his reckoning, thus securing him a favorable judgement and allowing him to enter heaven.
Reckoning Quotes in Everyman
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.