History: E211_Everyman

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Assigned: Everyman (Vol. A, 508-29).


1. This is the sort of play that situates its characters in an "ethical universe" rather than a strictly realistic one. But what can be said about the play's setting? What are its characteristics, and what is its moral significance? To what extent does the playwright describe the setting as if it were an actual landscape?

2. Characterize the journey Everyman takes -- what sort of trip is it? Also, does the word "journay" (line 103) help the author make some further point about the trip to be undertaken? (Looking up the French words jour and journee might help.)

3. What attributes of the character Everyman are embodied in the allegorical figures he meets? Which of them is most important, and why? In addition, here is a fun way to elaborate on this question, one that tests your Hollywood smarts: whom would you cast in the role of the main characters? Who should play "Good Deeds," "Fellowship," and so on? Why?

4. What view of human nature does this play present? How do you derive this view? Point to and discuss some specific passages that lead you to your response.

5. Representing God has long presented interesting difficulties to Christian poets. What sort of attitude towards man does God take in this play? What emotions does he seem to exhibit? What judgments does he make?

6. This play is, of course, a moral allegory, but it has no trouble holding a modern reader's attention. Many people would probably agree that it still packs an emotional punch. Try to explain how the play generates such a response -- what specific features make it effective?

Edition: Greenblatt, Stephen and Carol T. Christ. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th. edition. Package 1: Vols. A, B, C. Paperback. Norton: 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0393913002.


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