Other Companions (from Everyman)

Everyman meets Confession at the House of Salvation, and he repents of his sin, trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross for his salvation. Good Deeds receives new strength and is able to walk again. Joyfully she accompanies Everyman on the remainder of his journey, and they are joined by four more companions as well: Discretion, Strength, Five-Wits, and Beauty.

EVERYMAN: My friends, come hither and be present,
Discretion, Strength, my Five-Wits, and Beauty!
BEAUTY: Here at your will we be all ready.
What will ye that we should do?
GOOD DEEDS: That ye would with Everyman go
And help him in his pilgrimage.
Advise you: will ye with him or not in that voyage?
STRENGTH: We will bring him all thither,
To his help and comfort, ye may believe me.
DISCRETION: So will we go with him all together.
EVERYMAN: Almighty God, praised might thou be!
I give thee laud that I have hither brought
Strength, Discretion, Beauty, and Five-Wits—lack I nought—
And my Good Deeds, with Knowledge clear,
All be in my company at my will here:
I desire no more to my business.
STRENGTH: And I, Strength, will by you stand in distress,
Though thou would in battle fight on the ground.
FIVE-WITS: And though it were through the world round,
We will not depart for sweet nor sour.
BEAUTY: No more will I, until death’s hour….

from Everyman, after 1485

This is Part 9 in a series of Sunday segments from this allegory, which I am sharing as much to educate as to entertain. Click here to read previous posts: Part 1: Messenger, Part 2: God, Part 3: Fellowship, Part 4: Kindred, Part 5: Goods, Part 6: Good Deeds, Part 7: Knowledge, Part 8: Confession.

Everyman is the best surviving example of that kind of medieval drama which is known as the morality play. Moralities apparently evolved side by side with the mysteries and in England were, like them, acted by trade guilds, though they were composed individually and not in cycles. They both have a primarily religious purpose, though their method of attaining it is different. The mysteries endeavored to make the Christian religion more real to the unlearned by dramatizing significant events in Biblical history and by showing what these events meant in terms of human experience. The moralities, on the other hand, employed allegory to dramatize the moral struggle that Christianity envisions as present in every man. The actors are every man and the qualities within him, good or bad, and the plot consists of his various reactions to these qualities as they push and pull him one way or another—that is, in Christian terms, toward heaven or toward hell.



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