43 pages 1 hour read



Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1485

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Character Analysis


Everyman is the protagonist of the play. Like the other characters, Everyman is less a character than an allegorical construct or personification: He is an “everyman,” a stand-in for the average human being or humanity in general.

At the beginning of the play, Everyman exemplifies the problem with human beings who neglect God, “living without dread in worldly prosperity” (24). Death, indeed, first finds Everyman with “his mind […] on fleshly lust and his treasure” (82), reproaching him for walking about so “gaily” and asking him pointedly “Hast thou thy Maker forget?” (86). Everyman, unsurprisingly, is not ready for his reckoning when God sends Death to him, pleading for more time and even seeking in vain to bribe Death.

Though initially introduced as an average sinner, Everyman comes to understand the error of his ways. When his friends—Fellowship, Kinship (and Cousin), and Goods—begin to forsake him, Everyman glimpses what is truly valuable and repents of his sinful life. This repentance strengthens Everyman’s Good Deeds, and in the end she alone accompanies him to his grave and his reckoning. This inspires Everyman to renounce his previous connection to the earthly realm and especially to the sinful pursuit of material prosperity.