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Transcript of Everyman
Believed to have been written c. 1485-early 1500's
Tudor Period-Wealth and Prosperity
No record of Medieval Performance
•Scholars strongly believe
is based on
, a Dutch Morality Play
published in 1495
authorship is attributed to medieval author, Peter van Diest, but under question as well.
Historical Context: Cycle Play Tradition
English Morality plays sprang from the religious cycle play tradition.
York Corpus Christi
The York cycle contains 48 stories:
Spanned from Creation to Last Judgment in the bible.
Performed during the Corpus Christi feast in one day.
Lasted over 13 hours
Produced and performed by trade guilds.
Guilds were assigned the same story each pageant.
• Creation/Lucifer (Tanners)
• Creation/5 Days (Plasterers)
• Adam & Eve (Cardmakers)
• Eden (Fullers [makers of a felt-like cloth])
• Fall of Man (Coopers)
• Explusion (Armorers)
• Cain & Abel (Glovers)
• Noah’s Ark (Shipwrights)
• Noah’s Flood (Fishmongers and Mariners)
• Abraham & Isaac (Parchmentmakers)
• Exodus (Hosiers)
• Annunciation/Visitation (Spicers)
• Joseph’s Trouble (Founders)
• Nativity (Tile-thatchers)
• Angel/Shepherds (Chandlers [the word is related to "candle" and "chandelier"])
• Magi & Herod (Goldsmiths; Masons; Minstrels [ownership changed over the years])
• Adoration (Goldsmiths)
• Purification (Community of St. Leonard’s Hospital; Masons)
• Flight to Egypt (Marshals)
• Innocents (Girdlers)
• Christ & Doctors (Spurriers and Lorimers [makers of spurs and harnesses])
• Temptation (Smiths)
• Transfiguration (Curriers [leather worker])
• Woman/Lazarus (Plumbers/Capmakers)
• Jerusalem Entry (Skinners)
• Conspiracy (Cutlers)
• Last Supper (Bakers)
• Agony & Betrayal (Cordwainers [shoemakers])
• Caiaphas/Peter (Bowers and Fletchers)
• Pilate 1/Wife (Tapiters [tapestrymakers])
• Trial by Herod (Dyers)
• Pilate 2/Judas (Saucemakers)
• Condemnation (Tilemakers)
• Road to Calvary (Shearers)
• Crucifixion (Painters; also associated with the Pinners [Nailers])
• Death of Christ (Butchers)
• Harrowing of Hell (Saddlers)
• Mary Magdalene (Winedrawers)
• Road to Emmaus (Wool-packers)
• Doubting Thomas (Scriveners)
• Ascension (Tailors)
• Pentecotst (Potters)
• Death of Mary (Drapers)
• Assumption (Woollenweavers)
• Coronation (Mayor; Innholders)
• Judgement (Mercers [Merchants])
Since very few pre-Reformation morality plays have survived, it is hard to say what characterized the genre; each was different.
Is Everyman a true example of a Morality play?
Morality plays are a secular drama form closest to the cycle play tradition.
• Utilize allegorical characters to represent virtues.
Virtues lead the protagonist towards a Godly life, as opposed to an evil one, in preparation of divine judgment.
Allegorical characters in
: Good Deeds, Goods, Fellowship, Kindred, Strength, Discretion, Beauty, Five-Wits, & Knowledge.
, the major struggle is between "Goodes" and "Good Dedes".
Who is Everyman?
"Goodes" vs. "Good Dedes"
Remember You Will Die
Morality Plays, Based in Fear
• Europeans were increasingly fearful of the afterlife and divine judgment after 1/3 of the population was wiped out from the Black Death.
Images of skulls and representations of death were often used in art to remind every man, whether you were a king or a peasant, that we were all born to die.
Staging and Costume
Morality play stages were usually fixed.
Scenery and set ranged in complexity.
Castle of Perseverance
had 5 mansions that surrounded Mankind's Castle in the center, surrounded by water, or a mote-like structure
Everyman represents every man...or every merchant?
Be mindful of death...
Remember you will die.
We were born to die.
Hominem te esse memento.
Plot and Purpose
God is angered that Everyman is caught up in earthly pleasures and goods.
Death informs Everyman his time has come.
Everyman scrambles for company on his journey.
After Fellowship, Kindred, and Cousin abandon Everyman, he turns to his Goods.
Goods informs Everyman that his lack of moderation with Goods and lack of alms to the poor was his downfall.
Good Deeds enters, "Here I lie cold in the ground"
Knowledge (or the new knowledge of Everyman’s sins and need for penance) takes Everyman to Confession Everyman says, “I come with Knowledge for my redemption, Repent with hearty and full contrition”
• Everyman asks for penance, and when absolved, Good Deeds can walk again, proclaiming, “delivered of my sickness and woe, therefore with Everyman I will go, and not spare; His good works I will help him to declare.”
• Strength, Discretion, Beauty, and Five-Wits come along for the journey, now that he is absolved.
• However, once Everyman reaches the grave, all flee again from him, except for Good Deeds.
“Good Deeds: All earthly things is but vanity;
Beauty, Strength, and Discretion, do man forsake,
Foolish friends and kinsmen, that fair spake,
All fleeith save Good-Deeds, and that am I.”
Both are seen lying on the ground:
Goods: “I lie here in corners, trussed and piled so high/And in chests I am locked so fast,/Also sacked in bags...I cannot stir; in packs low I lie.”
Good Deeds: “Here I lie cold in the ground;/Thy sins hath me sore bound/ That I cannot stir.” Good Deeds represents the poor.
"My love is contrary to the love everlasting/If thou had me loved moderately during,/As, to the poor give part of me..."
Good Deeds is healed upon Everyman's penance:
"delivered of my sickness and woe, therefore with Everyman I will go, and not spare; His good works I will help him to declare."
Good Deeds is the only one that joins Everyman in the grave.
Greek and Aristotelian Connections
Dualities and Archetypes: Heaven/Hell, Goods/Good Deeds, Beauty, Death, etc.
The "unbalance of the inner self" (Vial 2008)
Concern with actions affecting the afterlife
However, Everyman ends with a "Happy Mood"
Everyman is meant to instruct its audience to do charitable works and live moderately in order to receive salvation with God after death.
Morality plays offered counsel, comfort, and instruction in a time of fear of death, yet also served as a
Everyman does not necessarily face an evil, malicious vice; one is not personified. This went against the evil in Morality Play vices.
Goods are apathetic and inactive, in no way maliciously leading Everyman astray.
Ladd (2007) interjects that this may be because the play is written for Every merchant, not Everyman.
Pun on Goodes and Good Dedes was charactaristic of antimerchantile satire.
Everyman is characterized as wealthy, and is expected too give alms to the poor.
Everyman's way to salvation is through Good Deeds, not Grace or a non-monetary virtue.
Brockett, Oscar G.
History of the Theatre 5th Ed
. (Needham Heights: Simon & Shuster, Inc.
Broos, T., Davidson, C. and Martin Walsh. “Introduction” Everyman and Its Dutch Original,
Elckerlijc. (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications 2007)
Ladd, Roger A. “ ‘My Condicion is Mannes Soule to Kill’—Everyman’s Merchantile
41.1 (2007) 57-78
Munson, William. “Knowing and Doing in ‘Everyman’”
The Chaucer Review,
Vol. 19, No. 3
(Winter, 1985), 252-271
Paulson, Julie. “Death’s Arrival and Everyman’s Separation”.
, 48, (2007)
Ryan, Denise. "'If ye had parfytely chered me': the nurturing of good deeds in 'Everyman.'."
Notes and Queries
42.2 (1995): 165+. Literature Resource Center.
The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas that Have
Shaped our World View.
(New York: Random House Publishing Group 1991).
Vial, Claire. “Everyman and the Bowels of Tragedy”.
; 61, 4, (Oct-Dec
2008) pp. 387
The downfall of man is his excess of goods and lack of good deeds.
Four early 16th century print editions have survived:
-2 by John Skot
-2 by Richard Pynson in fragments
-All date between 1509-1531
Earliest known performance was in Canterbury in 1901 by William Poel
Joris van Lankvelt
Everyman begins with the dance of death.
by Sarah F.