Everyman

Reckoning Symbol Icon

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

The Everyman quotes below all refer to the symbol of Reckoning. 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

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:
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Reckoning Symbol Timeline in Everyman

The timeline below shows where the symbol Reckoning 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
...and Beauty will disappear after death, and that God will summon Everyman for “a general reckoning.” Then the messenger introduces the present action, asking for the audience’s attention once again to... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
...of the deadly sins and are becoming worse every year, God decides to “have a reckoning of every man’s person,” calling them to account for the sins so that they don’t... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
...he must immediately go on a pilgrimage “in [God’s] name” and bring with him a “reckoning”—a ledger that lists all the good and bad deeds Everyman has done, which God will... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
...Everyman, asking if he has forgotten his maker and informing him that God wants a reckoning from him. Troubled and unprepared for such a task, Everyman asks the identity of his... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
...mercy” to give him more time to make his “counting book” (another name for a reckoning) ready, but Death tells Everyman that crying and praying won’t help him now. Death then... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
...them about his situation—that he was commanded by a messenger of God to give an account of his good and evil deeds, and that he is seeking companions for his journey. (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
...accompany Everyman. Cousin then gives Everyman another reason for his refusal: he too has a “reckoning” to prepare. Soon after, Kindred and Cousin flee the scene. (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
...Everyman tells Goods his troubles, asking him to accompany Everyman and to help “purify” his reckoning, as he believes that “money maketh all right that is wrong.” (full context)
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
...worse than it already is, and he explains that Everyman’s love for Goods “made [his reckoning] blotted and blind.” Though troubled by Goods’ warning, Everyman still asks Goods to come with... (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
...her for help, but Good-Deeds already knows that Everyman has been summoned before God to account for his actions. Everyman asks Good-Deeds to accompany him, and she says that she would,... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
...Everyman that once he “heal[s] thee of thy smart” and returns to Good-Deeds with his reckoning, they will go to “the blessed Trinity” to be judged together. Everyman thanks Good-Deeds and... (full context)
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
...own sin. Knowledge assures him that he is on the right path to making his reckoning, and Everyman proceeds to punish his body “in the name of the Holy Trinity.” He... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
...“pleaseth God passing well.” As Everyman now has “true contrition,” and as Good-Deeds has his reckoning in hand, Everyman is ready to continue his journey with his two companions. However, Good-Deeds... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Sin, Human Nature, and the Material World Theme Icon
...her and realizes that he is approaching death and that he must soon make his reckoning. He speaks directly to the audience, asking them to view him as an example of... (full context)
Personification and Morality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Salvation, Humility, and the Catholic Church Theme Icon
...appears on stage, welcoming Everyman’s soul into heaven because of his “singular virtue” and “crystal-clear” reckoning. The angel declares that Everyman will live happily in heaven until judgment day. (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
...must make “amends” before death, in order to gain God’s mercy and to clear our reckoning. If not, the doctor tells us, we will suffer in hell, but if our reckoning... (full context)