Essay on Everyman Analysis

1887 Words Jun 2nd, 2012 8 Pages
Analysis of Death in “Everyman”

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Outline 1. Give brief overview of Death a. Discuss when he appears and for what reason b. Discuss his objectives and what his reason for being there is c. Discuss who he is talking to d. Give thesis statement 2. Quote the excerpt of Death’s conversation with God 3. Quote the excerpt of Trussler and his summary of the conversation 4. Discuss the atypical depiction of Death e. Follow up with Ron Tanner’s quotation about the humor in the scene 5. Quote Davenport f. Kafkaesque 6. Discuss the influence Christianity and the Catholic Church had on drama during the 15th century g. Quote Moses’ and his synopsis of the matter 7.
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Quite often Death is portrayed and perceived as dark, ominous, dangerous, and foreboding just to name a few. In this particular drama, death does play a serious role and does possess some of the above mentioned characteristics, but not the stereotypical role associated by many with death; here Death is cast as an obvious servant of God, not the typical servant of evil. Certain uncommon qualities are given to Death in this play as well; Death clearly demonstrates fairness and mercy in his allowance of Everyman to take a companion with him to the grave. Ron Tanner, writing in the Philological Quarterly, illustrates another, borderline, humorous quality in Everyman, specifically Everyman’s negotiation with Death:
What makes the exchange between Death and Everyman humorous is Everyman’s attempts at negotiation. First he asks for an extension of time, then he tries to bribe Death…it is ridiculous to attempt such bargains. This is the end, after all. “Now, gentle Death,” says Everyman, still hoping to slip away, “spare me till tomorrow.” The humor here is that Death is anything but gentle or noble: one has only to imagine the ghastly figure of death looming over the now flattering Everyman to appreciate the irony. Everyman’s words are doubly ironic since his request for respite has dwindled from twelve years to only one day. (Tanner 1991)
While the scene described by Tanner is not intended to be a

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