The notion of God was created by humans to describe the facts and events they were unable to comprehend through the lens of their knowledge. Many modern people have skeptic views on religion, yet this unique moral play can find a relatable topic even nowadays. This essay discusses the ideas of religion and hypocrisy presented in the play “The Summoning of Everyman” by the unknown author.
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The main character, Everyman, represents an average non-religious person, with all his or her positive and negative qualities. Notably, while he does not directly communicate with God at any point in his final day, Everyman is set on his path by God’s actors. Religion is shown as a way to salvation, but it is not an easy way. In the play, God says to Death when sending it after Everyman: “a pilgrimage he must on him take, which he in no wise may escape” (“The Summoning of Everyman” 68-69). While the main character is not a religious person, and he sinned in his life, he was able to achieve redemption by confessing his sins and removing their burden from good deeds. Through this action, the play shows the actual value of human life according to religion.
Before dying, Everyman attempts to find a partner that will go into the afterlife with him. His futile attempts to ask for help are hypocritic in their nature. Throughout his search, he calls for many characters to come along with him, however, all but one refuse his invitation. Actors who reject his request represent worldly possessions, including wits, knowledge, friends, family, and wealth. Everyman does not want to acknowledge that all he has been collecting in his life matters nothing and weighs him down in the eyes of God.
In conclusion, the depictions of piety and hypocricy in this play are the reason why it stays relevant up to today. Although religion is no longer used as a way to describe unexplored, it gives a good idea about what values the most in people’s lives. Despite the fact that this play was first published as early as the fifteenth century, its message and basis correlate with modern views on religion.
The Summoning of Everyman. 1495.