Introduction to Everyman

Medieval Literature

• essentially all written works available in Europe beyond and during the Middle Ages

• composed of religious writings as well as secular works.

• a complex and rich field of study, from the utterly sacred to the exuberantly profane, touching all points in-between.

The Morality Play

The morality play is a kind of poetic drama that developed in the late 14th century. This literary form is distinguished from other religious writings of the time by being a dramatized allegory in which abstractions of virtues or vices (such as hope or pride) appear in personified form and struggle for a human soul. The central figure may represent humanity in general, as in Everyman.


Morality plays may be classified as religious, doctrinal, didactic-pedagogical, or political.

Allegory

Themes

The themes in Everyman are universal -- they are not bound by time or location. These are things that all humans deal with at some point in their lives.