43 pages 1 hour read



Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1485

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Literary Devices

Allegory and Personification

An allegory is a narrative that conveys an abstract or moral lesson via its plot, setting, or characters. Everyman, like most morality plays, operates as an allegory. Specifically, the play is an allegory for Christian notions about death, reckoning, and salvation as achieved through repentance. As an allegory, Everyman employs personification, a literary device in which an idea or abstraction is given human qualities or even turned into a character. Most of the characters in the play are personifications of various abstract qualities—Death, Fellowship, Kindred, and so on. These are thus not characters in the typical sense; they don’t have true personalities, emotions, or character arcs. Rather, they represent 15th-century English worldviews and advance the allegorical moral of the play.


Juxtaposition is a literary device involving the side-by-side comparison of concepts or entities generally seen as opposites. Everyman develops many of its central themes through juxtaposition—the primary example being the juxtaposition of the earthly and the eternal. This is itself explored through various other juxtapositions scattered throughout the play—material body versus eternal soul, good versus evil,