Allegorical strategies were a favorite type of writing used in the Middle Ages literature and entertainment. The allegorical style was especially used in dramas at this time in literature. In Everyman, the allegorical style of literature is portrayed through and through. There are many different ways this selection relates to the favorite style of Middle Age literature, including the usage of characters, the dramatization, a moral or spiritual lesson, and personification throughout.
In Everyman, there are dramatis personae, or personified dramatic “characters,” that make the story. For example, messenger, cousin, angel, doctor, and God are really the only characters like we would see in any other piece of literature; the difference is with the personified characters such as Fellowship, Knowledge, and Beauty, to name a few. Through the use of personifications, we are able to connect with the moral or spiritual lessons in a way that another story would not be able to do. In any other piece of literature, an attachment to the characters builds as we read the selection, making it hard to separate ourselves from the story and learn to lesson at hand. In Everyman, the author made sure to personify feelings and pieces of character to make them stand out in a way that we can identify ourselves fully with the lessons. In this story, we become “everyman” and are able to learn the moral of the story through our own relationship with everyman instead of growing attached to another character, which can create a barrier in the way the author intended us to read the story. Personification remains important in an allegorical piece of literature because it provides the essential components the author is trying to help us perceive.
The author chose to connect Everyman with each of these personality/character traits in this piece of literature in a way that without them, Everyman experiences loss of himself. As the story progresses, Everyman gets lost in business and the pleasures of the world; as each of these things are taken from him (or her), Everyman realizes that you cannot take these things with you when you reach judgment day. The Christian belief in Judgment Day will take each of these things away from us, and Everyman comes to the realization that Beauty and Strength and Knowledge cannot be taken with us. Instead, Death will prevail and we will reach the end of our road here on Earth and go to meet God. Each of these things was of the utmost importance to Everyman, but once this realization strikes, s/he knows that things have got to change quickly. The whole point of each of these “companions” leaving Everyman one after the other is to show him (or her) that we cannot focus on the trappings of this world; instead, we have to focus or re-focus on what is really important to our lives here on Earth: salvation in the end.
The society of these days (as well as the society we currently live in) remains so wrapped up in the beauty and knowledge and strength and other possessions of life that we cannot fully focus on what is important to our future: salvation. Instead of making these things the center of our lives, we must re-assess the situation like Everyman was forced to do. Each person in the Middle Ages were most likely focusing on these aspects that could make themselves more important, more successful, more wanted. Instead of living their lives in this way, the author was trying to prove that Everyman must learn that beauty or strength are unimportant in the end because we will all be beautiful and wise and lovely in heaven. Our earthly form does not quite matter as long as we fulfill the purpose God has set for us while in our earthly stage. Christian salvation became the primary focus of the story, just like the author was trying to say that our salvation should be at the forefront of our minds while here on Earth, instead of trying to perfect our earthly bodies.
This play was written in order that the author could communicate what s/he was feeling from God and his (or her) relationship with Christianity. Even Christians are forgetful when it comes to matters of Earth and of Heaven, but we must remember that the sole importance of our lives here on Earth is to magnify the Kingdom of Heaven. Through letting go of the focus on these possessions of ourselves, we truly become possessed by God, leading lives that we were intended to live. The drama of this play is that each of these possessions leaves Everyman in a substantial way, reminding us of our purpose. The author used Beauty, Good Deeds, Strength, Knowledge, and Discretion (to name a few) to get down to our core and show that the society of the time, as well as the society of our time, puts these things at the top of our priority list instead of keeping our own salvation at the top. Beauty is such a yearned-after possession of the physical aspect here on Earth, but we must realize that whatever beauty we gain here on Earth, none of it matters except the inner beauty because you can't take it with you.
Altogether, the author uses the portrayal of possessions such as these to show Everyman that whatever we acquire here on Earth cannot be taken with us; instead, we must work on our character instead of our appearance. We must learn to live for God and the salvation we will receive through Christ instead of for the temporary bodies and minds we possess while here on Earth. Our earthly stage is only for a short time, but our time in Heaven will be for eternity. What is more important: beauty or salvation? The basic morale of this allegorical play was (and is) to show that people concentrate too fully on things that cannot be taken with us in the end. Changing the way we think as humans will ultimately give us the chance to live the life that God intended while here on Earth. In conclusion, the allegorically styled piece of literature reaches down to the depths of our souls and makes us realize that we need to change our mindset to what our top priorities are instead of focusing on the things that you cannot take with you.