Compare and Contrast Everyman and the Song of Roland Term Paper

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Everyman and the Song of Roland focuses on the leading characters of the plays, namely, Everyman and Roland. This paper gives an in depth analysis of Everyman and the ingredients necessary for any man to abode paradise. This paper also reviews the character of Roland and how he earned great praise and respect not only among his mortal friends but also among angels and saints in heaven. By comparing both characters, this paper emphasizes on life after death according to Christian ideals.

Compare And Contrast Everyman And The Song Of Roland

Everyman is a medieval morality play, written anonymously between 1509-1519. This play may have been inspired by an anterior Dutch morality play, Elckerlijk. The play Everyman is an allegory of Death and the destiny of the soul. Everyman calls for Fellowship, Goods and Strength when he is summoned by death but sadly they betray him due to their true nature. Conley explains it to him that only true friends do not desert one another in times of need because they are both virtuous and supernatural and as a result of true friendship only Good Deeds and Knowledge remain faithful and lead Everyman towards salvation. It is the resplendent characterization of these incarnate abstractions that enhances the play's dramatic effect.

Everyman, like any other medieval drama was evolved out of early nonliturgical vernacular religious dramas, which were presumably matured out of the sacramental drama of the medieval church. Like any other morality plays, Everyman presents religious and moral thoughts through a Christian's point-of-view, whose primary concern is to accomplish the salvation of his soul. Morality dramas highlight the struggle between the powerful forces of good and evil and this in turn involves the Christian endeavor to acquire salvation despite the materialistic temptations, which
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he encounters through his journey of life, towards death.

The main characters in Everyman include Everyman, God, a Messenger, Death, Fellowship, Kindred, Cousin, Goods, Knowledge, Beauty, Strength and Beauty. The play starts by the introduction of God and Messenger to the audience and the conversation between the two. God is very much unhappy with all his creatures that have forgotten his teaching and adopted sinful acts. God says,

How that all the creatures be to me unkind,

Living without dread in worldly prosperity:

Of ghostly sight the people be so blind,

Drowned in sin, they know me not for their God; (Everyman, Line 23)

God then calls for Death to summon Everyman before him. Death goes to find Everyman and upon finding him, asks him to accompany him to God. Least prepared for Death, Everyman tries to divert him and persuade him to come for him another day except now. All his efforts go in vain, as Death is adamant upon obeying God's verdict.

Everyman says,

In thy power it lieth me to save,

Yet of my good will I give thee, if ye will be kind,

Yea, a thousand pound shalt thou have,

And defer this matter till another day (Everyman, line 120).

Everyman who is immersed in worldly pleasures realizes that death is sudden and cannot be avoided. Everyman constantly begs for mercy and seeks council and camaraderie for this dangerous journey and weeps on his luck.

Firstly, Everyman seeks Fellowship's company. He says,

What, and I to Fellowship thereof spake,

Be on good friends in sport and play.

I see him yonder, certainly;

trust that he will bear me company; (Everyman, line 197).

Upon knowing Everyman's problem, Fellowship refuses to help him. Next Everyman seeks Kindred, Cousin…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Eveyman. Mideival Source Book. Available on the address http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/everyman.html. Accessed on 22 Feb. 2003.

The Song Of Roland. Available on the address http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/songofroland. Accessed on 22 Feb. 2003.

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