Linguistic and Anthropological Journeys

Here to answer questions on the fields of Anthopology and Linguistics


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Texts to Look For 2: Everyman
Linguistics Timothy Patrick Snyder Anthr
linguistictim
This is a morality play written in the early 1500s in Middle English.  It was probably written and performed by priests, and it may have been a translation of the Dutch Elckerlijc. It post-dates Chaucer, and is fairly easy to read.  Most editions you will find have modernised spellings, either way.  This is a religious tale and has many religious themes.  I myself am the opposite of religious, but I still appreciate this type of work.

It does not have specific individual characters, but instead characters which represent generalities, characteristics, and other features that people have.  The main character is Everyman, quite literally supposed to represent every man, and the story follows that he is to die and be judged by God.  He is frightened of this notion, so he goes to his friends (such as Fellowship and Goods) and family (such as Kindred or Cousin) looking for someone to come and speak up on his behalf.  The one, whom he knows would help him is Good Deeds, but he hasn't been so kind to her, so he uses Knowledge to help him to get her to come with him when he dies.

Most of the events are supposed to be metaphorical, and helpful lessons to the standard medieval population.  The idea was to get the people to pay attention to god, and to work on being good.  It's a good perspective to seeing how religion affected the medieval world, and it has some interesting poetry.


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