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Material economy, spiritual economy, and social critique in Everyman.

In an important essay first published in 1972, V. A. Kolve pointed out that "the most distinctive part" of Everyman's language, "the essential verbal matrix of the play," deals with economic exchanges and the account book the protagonist must present to God at his special judgment. (1) Kolve's study, which draws on exegetical tradition to argue that the "source behind the sources" of Everyman is the Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30, (2) does well to stress the foregrounding of financial terminology in Everyman, but notable aspects of that pervasive motif remain unexamined. Besides the language of accountancy and lending that it shares with the parable, Everyman also repeatedly invokes the concept of donation; and all of these ideas function in relation to material wealth, which also features prominently in the text but appears in Kolve's interpretation, like the coins in patristic readings of the parable, to represent human qualities, capabilities, and resources in general. (3) Moreover, the view of Everyman developed in relation to the Parable of the Talents joins most other discussions of the play, before and since, in making the protagonist's sinfulness seem unparticularized in nature and abstract in representation. Morality plays are intended to present matter of universal import, but this does not mean that their representations lack all specificity. While the events and characters in these works instantiate what their writers take to be general principles, the portrayals that illustrate those principles always proceed from and were understood within contexts investing them with cultural meaning. Interpretations of Everyman that consider only its theological ideas set aside many features of the text that contribute to the vision it promotes of the social world and the people who constitute it. In this essay we will suggest that the play's economic language has literal as well as metaphorical significance: there is good reason to believe that Everyman is less about mismanaging figurative assets than it is about loving the wrong kind of wealth.

This reading, too, has a scriptural foundation, also in the Gospel of Matthew:
 nolite thesaurizare vobis thesauros in terra
 ubi erugo et tinea demolitur
 ubi lures effodiunt et furantur
 Thesaurizate autem vobis thesauros in caelo
 ubi neque erugo neque tinea demolitur
 et ubi lures non effodiufit nec furantur
 ubi enim est thesaurus tuus ibi est et cor tuum.
 (Matt. 6:19-21) (4)

 [Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and
 moth consume, and where thieves break through, and steal. But lay
 up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor
 moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor
 steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.]

Although Jesus' admonition has a metaphorical element (the idea that there is another kind of treasure more enduring than material riches), a firmly practical orientation underlies these words and their devaluation of earthly wealth. This passage's interest in social application is made even clearer by its context in Matthew 6, which includes statements that teach the observance of alms and declare that one cannot serve both God and money. (5) In not relying solely on theoretical formulation or figurative meaning, which may leave a challenging interpretive distance between the affirmation of principle and its practical realization, these verses from the Sermon on the Mount differ from the genre of the parable with its characteristically oblique logic. Indeed, the gospel accounts sometimes thematize the opacity of parables as their hearers ponder these compact narratives and struggle to grasp their bearing on lived experience. (6) Jesus' words here, by contrast, explicitly link attitude with action so as to demand not only reflection on the lesson, but its execution. We find the same practical orientation and the same moral in Everyman, which may almost be read as an extended gloss on this scriptural text.

Everyman's purpose is to dramatize spiritual peril and the means of salvation, but its method in doing so reflects earthly concerns that are both concrete and particular. It concentrates on the affairs and actions of persons in the world, whereas other morality plays often represent the interior drama of the soul as primary and treat outward aspects of life only as they proceed from it. What is more, these affairs and actions have a strongly economic aspect. The world of Everyman turns on an axis of the love of money. This misdirected desire must be supplanted by a different attitude toward wealth, one that subordinates material value to spiritual value and even finds ways of converting the former into the latter. In what follows we will show that these two qualities of Everyman--its persistent economic alertness, both in literal and in metaphorical terms, and its emphasis on behavior rather than the private life of the soul--are integral to the play's ways of making meaning. Moreover, these two qualities work together to connect the play with social commentary more closely than has so far been observed.

Everyman is a literary artifact of early Tudor England, written sometime after about 1485 and extant in four partial or complete texts printed between c.1515 and c.1535. (7) Accordingly, our analysis will take notice throughout of two overlapping discursive environments that are likely to have informed its reception. The first, a constellation of literary conventions coinciding topically with this play, can illuminate its probable meanings for an audience acquainted with late Middle English literary and dramatic traditions still viable at the time of Everyman's documented existence. The second context, one in which it has seldom been considered, is a group of mainly early sixteenth-century works with which the texts of Everyman share genre, time, place, and medium. Several printed plays having relevant affinities with Everyman, most of them morality plays, circulated simultaneously with it in London: Hick Scorner, The World and the Child, Youth, Henry Medwall's Nature, John Skelton's Magnyfycence, John Rastell's Nature of the Four Elements, and Gentleness and Nobility, possibly by John Heywood. (8) Our focus on Everyman's English contexts should not be seen as an attempt to suppress its derivation from the Middle Dutch Elckerlijc. (9) In fact, we will take cognizance of this source, because some previously unremarked departures from it may shed light on the construction and priorities of the English play. (10) But Everyman's texts nowhere indicate its origin in Dutch rhetoricians' drama such that an early English audience can be presumed to have known of it; (11) and even had they been aware of its roots, normal readers or viewers of Everyman would not have believed they could understand it only through critical comparison with Elckerlijc. They surely encountered it as a play in English, situated de facto within English social, dramatic, and literary milieux. Sensitivity to Everyman's place in the English literary landscape of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries reveals that the play is engaged with the discourse of social complaint more deeply than literary historians have yet observed. This engagement, we will argue, is encoded in Everyman's handling of his wealth.

I. Material Wealth and Avarice

The besetting sin in Everyman is avarice, the inordinate love of worldly goods. (12) God himself says so: his first statements sound the note of his displeasure that all creatures are
 Lyuynge without drede in worldly prosperyte.
 Of ghostly syght the people be so blynde,
 Drowned in synne, they know me not for theyr God.
 In worldely ryches is all theyr mynde.

This message is reinforced a few lines later when God describes humankind as "so combred with worldly ryches / That nedes on them I must do iustice" (60-61). When these generalizations about humanity take body and voice in the character of Everyman, signs immediately begin to appear that immoderate concern for wealth is indeed his own chief moral failing. In response to God's orders, Death says that he will search out every person who lives "beestly" (74) and does not fear God, but he singles out the avaricious ("he that loueth rychesse," 76); and immediately after saying so, he approaches Everyman, whose "mynde is on flesshely lustes and his treasure" (82). Everyman first appears fashionably dressed and insouciant, mindful of earthly contentments and preoccupied with wealth.

In the play's first major dialogue, Everyman's faith in riches leads to his ridiculous attempt to bribe Death. We will discuss this episode in some detail later. For now, what is most important is Death's revelation to Everyman that his wealth is not finally his at all:
 [Dethe:] What, wenest thou thy lyue is gyuen the,
 And thy worldely gooddes also?
 Eueryman: I had wende so, veryle.
 Dethe: Nay, nay, it was but lende the;

 For as soone as thou arte go,
 Another a whyle shall haue it, and than go ther-fro,
 Euen as thou hast done.

Death's mention of "worldely gooddes" at this moment is, strictly speaking, a non sequitur, he may naturally enough bring up the idea that Everyman's life is merely on loan, given that they are discussing its approaching end, but his association of wealth with it is arbitrary in the immediate context. The pairing suggests, however, that this news is on the same order of magnitude to Everyman--and to the play's didactic purposes--as the news of his mortality. Significantly, when Death expands on his own answer to his previous question, he resolves his ambiguous singular "it" in line 164 as wealth only, not life, in the explanation that it will pass on to others as if Everyman had never even had it. Death knows that this information hits Everyman where it hurts most.

Everyman's subsequent dialogues with Fellowship and with Kindred and Cousin offer only hints of excessive reliance on riches within the playtext itself, as when it is insinuated that Fellowship is a bought friend. (13) But to any audience familiar with the widely distributed exemplary tale of the Unfaithful Friends or with the ars moriendi tradition, both of whose close affiliations with Everyman have been obvious to modern readers, implications of avarice would hover around these scenes. In both edited versions of the Gesta Romanorum, at the beginning of the Unfaithful Friends analogue the principal character sets out to buy friends in order to provide himself with help in any future time of need. (14) More generally, all the English analogues to Everyman's abandonment by Fellowship, Kindred, and Cousin are moralized to exemplify the futility of trust in earthly riches as well as in human companions. (15) In all of them, the first of the friends to renege--a friend whom, we are told in most versions, the protagonist loves as much as or more than himself--is allegorized as worldly wealth. And while some of these parallel tales identify the friend who finally proves to be faithful with Christ, in others he turns out to represent good works, particularly almsgiving, the standard remedy prescribed for avarice in moral literature. (16) The distress Everyman feels at the desertion of Fellowship, Kindred, and Cousin itself confirms the imputation to him of worldliness. Here the very popular ars moriendi literature of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries becomes informative. (17) These works counsel contemptus mundi, the avoidance or renunciation of temporal attractions whether material or human, and assert that in the series of temptations preceding death, the love of family and friends is essentially identical to the love of possessions in the nature of the danger it poses to the soul. While present-day readers might not readily group human attachments and greed for riches under the same heading, the writers of artes moriendi did: both signaled spiritually perilous devotion to the things of the world. (18)

Of central importance in dramatizing Everyman's principal failing, of course, is his encounter with Goods. The first notable fact in this scene is simply the quantity of wealth at Everyman's disposal. Goods' description of his position and posture (an implicit set of directions for a stage property) emphasizes a sprawling, bulky arrangement that seemingly answers any doubt as to whether Everyman could back up his offer to pay Death the sum of a thousand pounds:
 I lye here in corners, trussed and pyled so hye,
 And in chestes I am locked so fast,
 Also sacked in bagges. Thou mayst se with thyn eye
 I can not styre; in packes, lowe I lye.

Goods has the final place in the play's first succession of disappointments for Everyman, following the desertion of Fellowship, Kindred, and Cousin, because it is the "friend" he has most set his heart on. Everyman expresses stronger attachment to Goods than to the others:
 All my lyfe I haue loued ryches. (388)

 ... all my lyre I haue had ioye & pleasure in the. (408)

 Alas, I haue the loued, and had grete pleasure
 All my lyfe-dayes on good and treasure. (427-28)

 A, Good, thou hast had longe my hertely loue;
 I gaue the that whiche sholde be the Lordes aboue. (457-58)

As the last extract shows, he has even set riches in the place of God, as sure a sign of avarice as one could ask for. (19)

Everyman begins in the belief that his love for Goods is reciprocated, and his attitude toward wealth is summed up by his perverse creed that "money maketh all ryght that is wronge" (413). It is in accordance with this conviction that Everyman asks Goods to help his cause when he presents his account book before God. His faith in wealth has not been sufficiently shaken by Death's earlier correction, and now, when Goods himself must set Everyman straight, the unqualified wrong-headedness of his love of riches becomes inescapable. Perhaps Everyman was misled into placing excessive trust in Fellowship, Kindred, and Cousin by promises of their allegiance, the kinds of promises we see them make in ludicrous profusion before they understand where he must go. But in contrast to these figures, with their extravagant talk of loyalty, Goods has made no professions of friendship, and such cautious distinctions and qualified affirmations as he does make seem more consistent with the careful words of a contract: "Syr, & ye in the worlde haue sorowe or aduersyte, / That can I helpe you to remedy shortly" (401-2);
 wenest thou that I am thyne?
 Naye, Eueryrnan, I saye no.
 As for a whyle I was lente the;
 A season thou hast had me in prosperyte.
 Wenest thou that I wyll folowe the?
 Nay, fro this worlde not, veryle.

Whereas the human companions make excuses, Goods insists that he has done all he is obliged to do, and he will not pretend to have anything but a business relationship with Everyman. The friends were fickle, but Goods has simply acted according to his nature, which Everyman might have discerned had he been wiser:
 Everyman: O false Good, cursed thou be,
 Thou traytour to God, that hast deceyued me
 And caught me in thy snare!
 Goodes: Mary, thou brought thy selfe in care,
 Wherof I am gladde.
 I must nedes laugh; I can not be sadde.

The final lines quoted replace the earlier characters' hypocritical bonhomie with an unimpeachably honest sneer. As the scene ends and Everyman laments his predicament, he states once again that he has loved Goods the most, but sees that he has found the least comfort there in his moment of need (472-73).

Clearly it is avarice that has gotten Everyman into trouble, and this fact combines with other details in the text to tell us more than has usually been recognized about the protagonist. While his recovery from sin to grace through the standard penitential procedures traces a path available to all of humankind, he himself is not wholly generic. (20) He has a particular place in the earthly economy: Everyman's powerful confidence in goods would have made him recognizable to early audiences as a prosperous member of the mercantile and commercial class, a class particularly given (according to late medieval stereotypes) to avarice. (21) Of course, anyone can be too fond of possessions, even meager or merely desired ones, and not only entrepreneurs might be rich. But Everyman is rich, and the play offers no reason to suppose he has inherited old family wealth. Given his firm faith that money makes right what is wrong, it seems very likely not only that he is interested in money, but that it holds a central place in his consciousness. The imagery with which Goods is first presented--in the form of cash, heaped and stacked, bagged and locked in strongboxes--is the imagery of wealth in whose gain and management much care has been taken: wealth of achieved prosperity, not hereditary place.

One of the more recent analysts of the play has suggested that Everyman is a different kind of character altogether: the idle dandy or gallaunt, (22) who is conventionally a rakehell, a profligate country heir, a class-climber with courtly pretensions, or all of the above. The claim that Everyman fits this type is based mainly on the fact that he is dressed "gaily," or fashionably, at the start of the play. But aside from the mention of his dress, the associations are all wrong; Everyman's actions and attitudes are typical of the profit-seeker, not the gallant. He is defined by his wealth and his reliance on it, whereas wealth per se is incidental to portrayals of the dandy. (23) Elegant clothing is standard equipment for the gallant, certainly, but it is no less consonant with Everyman's identification as avaricious (in the moral landscape) or as a successful man of commerce (in the socioeconomic one). Long before Everyman walked the earth, Chaucer's pilgrim Merchant dressed nattily but behaved with a sober focus on the getting and keeping of wealth. (24) Similar is Margery Kempe's son, "dwellyng wyth a worschepful burgeys in Lynne, vsyng marchawndyse" whose "clothys wer al daggyd" and whom she urges "pat he xulde fie pe perellys of pis world & not settyn hys stody ne hys besynes so mech perup-on as he dede"; (25) and Gentleness and Nobility, a play contemporary with Skot's editions of Everyman, features a Merchant who enjoys "fyne cloth & costly aray" (326) but opens the play by emphasizing his skillful acquisition of wealth: he has "vsyd & the verey fet found" of commerce "and thereby gotton many a thousand pownd / wherfore now be cause of my grete ryches" (6-8). While stylish dress often functions as a convenient symbol of pride (normally the defining sin of the gallant) in the drama of the late Middle Ages, (26) in conjunction with other cues it can equally traditionally be connected with either lust or avarice, and dramatic contexts in which it has a clear association with the latter help to determine the glancing references to elegant dress in Everyman as a further marker of his wealth and his enjoyment of it. (27) The isolated fact of Everyman's fine appearance need not link him closely with the vainglorious, reckless gallant any more than the combination of fine dress and wealth must link him with the overweening tyrants of the late medieval stage, whose sumptuous clothing and riches are treated as a symbol of the temporal power in which they chiefly delight. (28)

Everyman's orientation to wealth--conceiving of it not primarily as a token of power, a concomitant of social station, or a disposable means to rowdy pleasure, but as a carefully tended store of pounds and pence--is far more likely to be associated with "getting" or commercial enterprise. The spendthrift gallant is the waster to Everyman's winner. (29) In Skelton's Magnyfycence, Fancy eggs Magnificence toward becoming a spendthrift by telling him that pennypinching (Fancy's caricature of Measure) is free for a merchant but unseemly for a lord (382-89). The merchant in Chaucer's Shipman's Tale does as we may easily imagine Everyman doing when
 up into his countour-hous gooth he
 To rekene with hymself, wel may be,
 Of thilke yeer how that it with hym stood,
 And how that he despended hadde his good,
 And if that he encressed were or noon.
 His bookes and his bagges many oon
 He leith biforn hym on his countyng-bord.

 (Canterbury Tales 7.77-83)

In John Lydgate's Dance of Death, a text philosophically and chronologically closer to Everyman than The Shipman's Tale, a wealthy citizen learns that it is his turn to join the morbid procession. Lydgate's Death addresses the Burgess as follows, using one of the same tacks that Death uses in Everyman to make an impression on his materialistic sensibilities:
 Sire Burgeys / what do ze lenger tarie
 For al zowre aver / & zowre grete richesse

 For zowre tresoure / plente & largesse
 From other hit came / & shal vn-to straungeres
 He is a fole / that yn soche besynesse
 Wote not for horn / he stuffeth his garneres.

 (297-98, 301-4) (30)

Lydgate's townsman answers much as Everyman might, as he acquires a more enlightened perspective:
 Certes to me / hit is grete displesauns
 To leue al this / & mai hit not assure
 Howses rentes / tresoure & substauns
 Dethe al fordothe / suche is his nature
 There-fore / wise is no creature
 That sette [h]is herte / on gode that mote disseuere.


Under the hand of Death, the Burgess swiftly moves from attachment to wealth, absurdly wishing he could insure (assure) it in some way that would guarantee its value beyond the grave, to acknowledgment that riches are not where one should "sette his herte." A misplaced heart is Everyman's problem too, and he is in the same social class as Lydgate's prosperous citizen and Chaucer's merchants: that which is characterized as prone to narrow concern for "[account] bookes and ... bagges many oon," for "tresoure & substauns."

Everyman's adaptation from Elckerlijc also provides some reason to understand Everyman as a man of commerce. The English writer worked from a play with clearly mercantile concerns. In rendering it into English, he or she retained many indications of this orientation; and if Everyman weakens some of them, (31) it enhances others. Most strikingly, Everyman introduces the account book or book of reckoning as a discrete object, a comprehensive ledger which he already has, while Elckerlijc refers less precisely to papers and documents the protagonist must gather. (32) Also, whereas Elckerlijc seems puzzled at first about what is being demanded of him by Die Doot (Death), Everyman is worried--but not confused--by the prospect of presenting his account book: he knows exactly what an audit is, and that he is unprepared for it. (33) These adjustments do not create major differences between the two plays, but they do afford a glimpse of the English adapter's conception of the main character.

We have seen, then, that Everyman lays a good deal of stress on avarice, first as a general problem and then as a personal one, and gives us a protagonist socially positioned to be particularly susceptible to it within audience expectations. This is evident within the text of the play; it is more conspicuous if any prior knowledge of related traditions in English is brought to bear; and its importance to the adapter can be confirmed by comparison to Elckerlijc. This is not to say that Everyman portrays a world subject only to a single sin. There are several references to other sins in the play, such as Death's statement that Everyman, besides being preoccupied with "treasure" also has his mind on "flesshely lustes" (82), (34) or the line in the Doctor's speech that warns against pride (904). (35) In recognizing that avarice is the matter of greatest concern in this play, it is not necessary to deny that Everyman touches on other moral failings. There is no reason for the playwright (or us) to assume that the greedy might not have other faults as well, and indeed, late medieval treatments of virtues and vices frequently promote what might be called a domino theory of deadly sins: even though they may be rigorously classified for didactic and confessional purposes, any one of them is a breach in the rampart of the soul and increases vulnerability to the others. (36)

But it is all the more noteworthy in light of these points that the scope of sinfulness in Everyman is not more broadly inclusive than it is. While Everyman's fair-weather associates Fellowship, Kindred, and Cousin seem enthusiastic about a wide range of vices, within the action of the play he himself is attracted to no moral error but excessive worldly attachment. Comparison with earlier and contemporary morality plays confirms Everyman's uniqueness in this respect; the others tend strongly either to pursue a plenary account of sinfulness or at least to allow its diverse expression in the protagonist and those who influence him. The three fifteenth-century plays of the Macro manuscript fit this pattern: Wisdom is organized according to the traditional schema of the Three Temptations; Mankind dramatizes general dissoluteness; (37) and The Castle of Perseverance, which centers on the temptation of the world and (like Everyman) on the corresponding sin of avarice, nevertheless brings into prominent view, with taxonomic zeal, the full roster of the seven mortal sins and their respective remedies. The same is true of the morality plays in print concurrently with Everyman: The World and the Child and Medwall's Nature both resolutely survey all seven deadly sins; less systematic than these, but each serving up a cornucopia of immorality, are Hick Scorner, Youth, and Skelton's Magnyfycence.

This distinction between Everyman and other plays of its kind highlights the consistency with which it conceives of morality with respect to riches. All in all, the ungodliness depicted in Everyman has persistently materialistic and even commercial leanings, and the fact that avarice is the core of Everyman's sinfulness strongly suggests that the writer saw interest in material gain to the exclusion of spiritual concerns as the characteristic vice of his or her time. There is a dimension of social critique here that scholarship has usually failed to appreciate. We will return to this aspect of the play in due course, but first it will be necessary to complete the background for our interpretation by discussing the other major class of economic reference in Everyman.

II. Spiritual Wealth and the Soteriological Economy

There is much more to say about economic language in Everyman than that it draws attention to improper attitudes toward wealth, whether as a personal fault or as a pandemic moral problem. The drama goes on to show the resolution of this trouble for Everyman himself, who dies in a state of grace and is received into heaven; and the way this resolution occurs also contributes to the play's web of economic language and concepts. Everyman presents two discrete planes of economic activity, two different systems of values that find expression predominantly in terms of the possession or movement of wealth. The first is the literal, mundane frame of reference, that of earthly riches, on which we have focused our discussion thus far. The second, to which we now turn, is a metaphorical economy: a system of spiritual relationships and values whose representation often makes use of the language of wealth as an instructive analogy, a way of accommodating theological and metaphysical ideas to a more familiar conceptual paradigm. (38)

The most central economic language in the play is the description of Everyman's judgment as a reckoning of accounts. No other metaphor is used to describe his anticipated appearance in God's presence. It is simply a reckoning, from the beginning of the play to the end, and it is referenced as such approximately forty times. (39) This idea is biblical in origin and extremely common throughout the Middle Ages, but as we have already seen, the Everyman dramatist brings new life to the familiar old figure of speech by giving the play its most memorable and concrete image, the account book, and putting it in the hands of a businessman, someone who knows about keeping accounts. While the imminent audit of the account book is the most conspicuous manifestation of the spiritual economy in Everyman, however, it is not the only one. It participates in a network of economic metaphors that also includes the language of purchase, of gift-giving, and of lending.

Everyman takes full advantage of the traditional representation of Christ's crucifixion as a purchase of humankind. This motif is introduced early, in God's monologue--in fact, hard on the heels of the lines (24-28, quoted previously) that first identify avarice as the prevailing sin:
 My lawe that I shewed, whan I for them dyed,
 They forgete clene / and shedynge of my blode rede.
 I hanged bytwene two theues, it can not be denyed;
 To gete them lyfe I suffred to be deed.


The juxtaposition with the immediately preceding complaint about human preoccupation with "worldely ryches" (27) is pointed, though it might be missed in casual modern reading due to the semantic development by which get, often meaning "purchase" in Middle and Early Modern English, has generalized to "acquire" Recognition of the underlying idea is not difficult in context, however, given the conventionality throughout Christian tradition of reference to Christ's blood as a kind of currency spent to the benefit of humankind. This idea is evoked elsewhere in the play too, as when Everyman prays that God will protect his soul at the moment of death from diabolical adversaries, figured as would-be thieves--"as thou me boughtest, so me defende" (882) (40)--and it occurs several times in clusters of economic and legal language such as befit description of a contract or transaction. God became incarnate "bycause he wolde euery man redeme, / Whiche Adam forfayted by his dysobedyence" (584-85); Everyman hopes to be "partynere" in Christ's glory "by the meanes of his passyon" (602-3); and he will need help "to make rekenynge / Before the Redemer of all thynge" (511-12). The word redeem is, of course, an economic term, literally signifying a buying-back, and this sense had not yet faded at the time of Everyman's circulation. (41) Once the pervasiveness of the analogy between Christ's blood and money is borne in mind, other references in Everyman to Christ the Redeemer become more clearly integrated with the play's patterns of economic language, as when Everyman invokes him, "O ghostly treasure, O raunsomer and redemer" (589), or Five Wits explains that"mannes redempcyon" is something that God"gaue vs out of his herte with grete pyne" (718-20).

The last quotation shades into another field of nonliteral economic reference in Everyman, focusing not on the purchase of souls by Christ, but on God's donation of something of metaphysical value. This is what makes human volition and activity meaningful. The buying of humankind involved the giving of "treasure" for lost souls in a transaction of which those souls were merely the objects; but that transaction as a whole (the fact of the purchase) is a gift, in that it is of gratuitous benefit to humankind, was not required of Christ, and must be voluntarily accepted by individuals to take effect. Thus the purchase model, which lies entirely outside the sphere of latter-day human involvement, can be subsumed into the gift model when viewed from a temporal perspective. In the language of the play, God gives, or may extend as a gift, salvation (718-20, just quoted), mercy (58), grace (607), the sacraments (716-20, 751-54), and the time and opportunity to partake of them (608, with reference specifically to penance). The nature of such gifts as freely given is stressed in a passage to be discussed more fully below, contrasting the generosity of Christ with the greed of simonists who profit materially from brokering that which is supposed to be freely available to all (751-58). But a gift freely given must also be received willingly; accepting a gift is a symbolic act that implies the acceptance as well of some sense of loyalty, duty, or special relationship to the giver. This aspect of the system is represented in Everyman, too: in God's opening speech, it is clear that mercy is offered, but whether it will be accepted is not a foregone conclusion (58-59).

God is thus both a buyer and a benefactor in Everyman. He is also a creditor, temporarily lending people their very being or life (57, 161-64, 341). In this case, the human obligation is stewardship, and it is here that application of the Parable of the Talents is most compelling. The loan of life can be repaid, in a sense, by devoting that life to God, recognizing that he is entitled to it, and finally returning it to him in the form of the eternal soul which has been preserved in safekeeping. The assets that go along with the life he gives--attributes of the human being such as Beauty, Strength, Knowledge, Discretion, and Five Wits--must be used so as to render a profit on his investment. In any event, a debt is owed to God. In that he has made a loan, each person owes a return on his bounty, as the reformed Everyman acknowledges (865); and in that God has made a donation, a relational obligation is incurred in return, that of gratitude and fidelity, which should be manifested in appropriate attitudes (the orientation of the will toward God) and actions (good deeds).

This is why, when God complains that all creatures are "lyuynge without drede in worldly prosperyte" (24), he equates this with their being "vnkynde," not only "ungracious" but "unnatural" toward Him (23). People have ignored their appointed relationship to God in the hierarchical order, failing to fear or remember their maker, benefactor, and judge, as we can see by revisiting an important passage from God's introductory monologue:
 of ghostly syght the people be so blynde,
 Drowned in synne, they know me not for theyr God.
 In worldely ryches is all theyr mynde;
 They fere not my ryghtwysnes, the sharpe rod.
 My lawe that I shewed, whan I for them dyed,
 They forgete clene / and shedynge of my blode rede.


Attentive only to material gain, human beings are unable even to recognize the spiritual economy or to acknowledge their obligation to God within it. In the person of Christ, God has shown the ultimate in lordly care, suffering on the cross to prevent forfeiture of humanity's claim to a place in the heavenly kingdom; yet they have forgotten and forsaken him rather than responding with gratitude and obedience to his authority.

Still, God's intentions have been benevolent, and his decision to have a reckoning of deeds is a response to the fact that his generosity has been answered with negligence:
 I hoped well that euery man
 In my glory sholde make his mansyon

 But now I se, lyke traytours deiecte,
 They thanke me not for the pleasure that I to them ment,
 Nor yet for theyr beyng that I them haue lent.

 (52-53, 55-57)

The appearance of the words "traytours" here and "lawe" previously (29)--both unprompted by the corresponding passages of Elckerlijc--underscores the fact that this gift, like any gift from lord to vassal, is a quasicontractual one. Gratitude would be not only the appropriate response, but the just one; by being ungrateful, human beings are actually being disloyal to their lord. (42) God goes on in the subsequent lines to connect this treason explicitly with humankind's preoccupation with material wealth:
 I profered the people grete multytude of mercy,
 And fewe there be that asketh it hertly.
 They be so combred with worldly riches
 That nedes on them I must do iustyce.


Having set their hearts on possessions, people are obstructed from taking part fully in the transactions of gift and grateful loyalty that God invites. Their participation in the system has become so attenuated that besides failing to respond to previously accepted gifts (salvation, 718-20; the sacraments, 751-54) with steadfast allegiance, they now fail even to accept, actively and "hertly" the continued offer of mercy. The execution of justice, as stated in God's monologue, is a direct consequence of this human failure to participate duly in the cycle of giving and receiving, within which mercy remains freely available. Everyman takes action to accept or claim that gift when he begins his penance in hopes that God will "gyue me grace" (607), which will make Everyman's deeds efficacious in terms of the account book that records them.

The fact that Everyman portrays good works as having value in the account book and in the soteriological audit is not in itself remarkable from the standpoint of dogma. (43) It is, however, a departure from Elckerlijc, where the corresponding character, Duecht (Virtue), is not outward but primarily inward, a motivating quality rather than essentially an action of the moral person. (44) This change harmonizes with Everyman's tendency to emphasize the outward and the behavioral, which can be seen too in the conspicuously participatory sacramentalism of the English play: Everyman is not just contrite; he really does penance, complete with flagellation. (45) The contrast between Everyman's focus on the piety of the outward, social person and the interiorized piety of some other contemporary devotional discourse is profound. Consider, for instance, Wynkyn de Worde's 1501 pamphlet that wrenches widely separated extracts from The Book of Margery Kempe--a mystic whose devotion was nothing if not demonstrative--into something resembling a treatise on the sufficiency of pious intentions and desires; (46) or morality plays like The Castle of Perseverance and Wisdom, which strongly privilege the theater of psychology over that of action in the world. Devout thought, resolution, and intention have little place in Everyman except as they directly underlie action. This play firmly embeds the personal recovery to grace in the public, sacramental structure of the church, asserting the regulatory power of the community of Christian faith and its institutional order.

Just as the primary manifestation of human sinfulness in Everyman is avarice, so also is salvation imagined primarily in economic terms. This is a very traditional kind of theological language: most elements of this spiritual economy derive from scriptural metaphors based on the notion of wealth and have a long history in patristic and medieval commentary. But placing this complex of ideas in Everyman alongside the emphasis on material riches is crucial to understanding the conceptual universe constructed by this play. In Everyman the spiritual economy operates in concert with the other plane of economic reference, that of literal, material wealth, to create the play's larger structures of meaning. Where the two economies meet, of course, is in the individual person, the experiencing self positioned to participate in both. The soul has a place in the spiritual economy, where it must address its attention to God so as not to neglect its debts and duties, and the social man or woman has a place in the world and its affairs. Everyman has directed his affections and attention entirely outward into the world. In a play that so insistently returns to the concept of wealth both literal and figurative, it should come as no surprise that Every-man's recovery to a state of grace can be followed largely by watching what he wants to do with his money. His various attempted applications of his wealth are not just outward symptoms of a "real" drama that is taking place within his soul. In Everyman, they are where the action is. They are attempts to create a conduit between the earthly and spiritual economies, such that money can advance his cause in the latter.

Everyman portrays one proper and three perverse ways in which a person might try to make riches have an effect on the soteriological audit. The three representations of inappropriate links between earthly wealth and the heavenly economy are Everyman's offer of a bribe to Death, his desire to bring Goods with him to his reckoning, and the overtly sociocritical passage on priesthood in which Knowledge inveighs against simony. The appropriate integration of earthly wealth into the economy of salvation is Everymans testament directing alms and restitution, which completes his penitential actions by bringing his contrition and confession to their prescribed end of satisfaction. An examination of these scenes will show that their intertextual involvements reveal the play's engagement with the literature of social complaint. Everyman intersects with late medieval sociocritical discourses more often than has been noticed, and the protagonist's position in relation to their normative ideologies shifts in accordance with the status of his soul.

III. Everyman and His World

Let us begin with the one passage in Everyman that has been recognized as having satirical content, and which has also caused perhaps more vexation to critics than any other. In holistic interpretations of the play, the so-called "digression" on priesthood, lines 706-68, has usually been either ignored or treated dismissively, as a curious break in both action and thematic construction. (47) Occasionally it has been seen as important to Everyman's structure, as by Lawrence V. Ryan, or as a reflection of the text's religiously conservative agenda and perhaps some anxiety about reformist currents, as David Bevington and C. J. Wortham have argued. (48) But the explicitly critical speech by Knowledge (750-63) has almost always been regarded as anomalous: isolated in its here-and-now topicality, or, for those scholars who do perceive historical specificity in Everyman's handling of priesthood and sacramentalism, still not a major component of the play's commentary on these subjects. (49)

Yet the Priesthood passage, and the speech of Knowledge within it, occupy a place in the play that would seem to have a claim for significance, right in the middle of Everyman's reintegration of his soul into the grace of God and the community of the church, while he has left the stage to receive, again in economic terms, "the sacrament for my redempcyon," (773). (50) At that weighty moment--the only moment from the time of Everyman's first appearance to the time of his soul's assumption into heaven when he is absent from the play space--there is nothing but the dialogue between Knowledge and Five Wits for the audience to hear. Their conversation about priesthood takes Everyman's place as the center of attention. This alone might signal the scene's importance, and comparative evidence can lend support to such an impression. In several of the other English morality plays, too, the protagonist exits one time, fairly late in the play, creating the opportunity for a speech or dialogue to occur in his absence. (51) It is never small talk. Each time, the characters remaining before the audience during that interval are authoritative ones whose views will lie near to the play's didactic heart.

Close analogues to this structural feature as it appears in Everyman occur in Wisdom and Nature when the central characters leave, as Everyman does, to participate in a sacrament (in those plays it is Confession). The authoritative figure who remains visible in each play proceeds to address the audience directly in a sermonlike speech. In Wisdom, while Anima and her three faculties (Mind, Will, and Understanding) are at confession, Wisdom delivers a lesson on the nine works of charity (997-1064). In Nature, during Man's absence for confession Reason approves of his actions, states his expectation that because of them Man will indeed be restored to grace, and extols the mercy and patience of God, who will sometimes allow a sinful person to live a long time in hopes of recovering the erring soul in the end (2.1371-94). While in Everyman, Wisdom, and Nature, the protagonist leaves to do something that contributes to his recovery, in some other plays he leaves at the nadir of his sinfulness to revel in immoral behavior while the onstage authority figures provide commentary in a direct audience address. The World and the Child has an absent-protagonist scene when Manhood exits to follow Folly to the tavern. During his absence, first Conscience and then Perseverance address the audience directly with didactic speeches (717-62), the first treating Manhood's actions as a negative exemplum for the instruction of the audience and stating the importance of Perseverance, and the second introducing Perseverance, who explains that he is entering the play "mankynde to endoctryne / That they sholde to no vyces enclyne" (755-56). The absent-protagonist scene in Youth begins as a monologue by Charity in direct address to the audience and shifts into dialogue with Humility when the latter enters. Charity begins by summing up the action and moral of the play thus far, treating the foregoing matter as an exemplum ([ci.sup.r]), just as Conscience does in The World and the Child. After Humility enters, he and Charity turn their attention to the business of the rest of the play, stating their plan for converting Youth to righteousness ([Ci.sup.r-v]).

This pattern is amply enough attested to look like a recognizable dramatic device in English morality plays. In Everyman, the speech of Knowledge has the same place and tone as those of Wisdom in Wisdom, Reason in Nature, Conscience and Perseverance in The World and the Child, and Charity in Youth. It differs in that Knowledge does have an addressee present within the dramatic fiction (Five Wits), but the speech is no less straightforwardly didactic in manner than the others, and Cawley observes that it is "obviously addressed to the audience." (52) The passage closely reflects its source in Elckerlijc and thus cannot be regarded as a purposeful naturalization of the play to English conventions, but any interpretive expectations shaped by other English morality plays would encourage reception of the priesthood discussion as a structural element similar to other absent-protagonist scenes. If we come to the Priesthood passage late in our process of forming interpretations of Everyman and then regard it as troublesome or digressive, we fall victim to a problem of our own devising. Reading it instead as real information that can indicate something about the play's priorities brings nearer to the surface other ways in which Everyman can be seen to engage meaningfully with social abuses, rather than merely turning aside for a moment from its true purpose to make a single, untethered remark of a sociocritical nature.

The Priesthood episode begins with a long, admiring description of priestly power by Five Wits, including emphasis on the sacraments as a donation to humankind through Christ's Passion:
 For of the blessyd sacramentes pure and benygne
 He bereth the keyes and therof hath the cure
 For mannes redempcyon--it is euer sure--
 Whiche God for our soules medycyne
 Gaue vs out of his herte with grete pyne.

After Knowledge and Five Wits instruct Everyman to visit a priest (to receive the Eucharist and Extreme Unction) and further explain the power granted to priests by God, Everyman withdraws from the foregrounded action. (53) It is at this time that Knowledge makes the speech which the critical tradition has found so incongruous with the rest of the play:
 If preestes be good, it is so, suerly.
 But whan Iesu hanged on the crosse with grete smarte,
 There he gaue out of his blessyd herte
 The same sacrament in grete tourment;
 He solde them not to vs, that Lorde omnypotent.
 Therfore Saynt Peter the apostell dothe saye
 That Iesus curse hath all they
 Whiche God theyr Sauyour do by or sell,
 Or they for ony money do take or tell.
 Synfull preestes gyueth the synners example bad:
 Theyr chyldren sytteth by other mennes fyres, I haue harde;
 And some haunteth womens company
 With vnclene lyfe, as lustes of lechery.
 These be with synne made blynde.
 (750-63) (54)

Knowledge's criticism of bad priests, including a few lines against their sexual misbehavior but mainly concerning simony, returns to the motif of Christ's donation to humankind that was introduced by Five Wits in his previous speech. Whereas Christ has suffered in order to give his people the Eucharist as a gift in the economy of salvation, corrupt priests treat the sacraments as if they belong to the worldly enterprise of profit-making. Knowledge's language here also connects the condemnation of simony to God's earlier condemnation of human greed, bringing this critique of clerical abuse into straightforward agreement with the stated central problem of the play.

While Knowledge most directly condemns the sellers of sacraments, who betray the special power and responsibility entrusted to them by God, no one can sell unless someone is buying: this speech recognizes that a simonist cannot act in isolation and reserves some blame for those in Everyman's position who (unlike him, at this late stage in the play) might undertake such a purchase. We should notice the social awareness implicit in Knowledge's treatment of simony as a transaction between two parties rather than an individual act insulated from the community. The social world inscribed in Everyman is one in which the threat of corruption inspired by greed looms large. This threat haunts much of the action of the first part of the play, as we will show, its presence indicated by cues that are easily missed now but would have been quite perceptible to an audience of insiders to English literary culture at the end of the Middle Ages.

In the earlier scenes of the play, Everyman himself is implicated in the kind of social corruption whose shadow falls across the Eucharist in Knowledge's speech about priestly abuses. Modern interpretations, however, have tended to see Everyman's failings (whether conceived of in general or particular terms) as essentially private and have thus taken little notice of the play's hints that his hands are dirty along with his soul. The trouble begins with Everyman's attempt to bribe Death, an incident having unappreciated significance within the play and resonance with discourses beyond it. An important aspect of this episode becomes visible only when we consider the implications of Death's representation at the beginning of Everyman as God' summoner, a superhuman version of the earthly officials whose duty it was to bring an accused party into court (secular or ecclesiastical). (55) This portrayal is perfectly appropriate: Everyman is, after all, being called to his judgment before God, both the highest king and the ultimate authority over the Church.

The idea of a court appearance is thoroughly entwined with the play's dominant motif of a financial audit or settling of accounts and has considerable importance of its own. A judicial conception of the soul's encounter with God after death is so fundamental to Christian thought that it scarcely needs emphasizing in the language of the play to have been present in the minds of audiences. Nevertheless, there are a number of passages in Everyman that encourage a legal conception of the system within which the protagonist is operating and of what it is he must do. His approaches to Fellowship, Kindred, and Cousin are attempts to gain their advocacy or counsel in his appearance before his king for judgment, (56) as is also the case in several of the analogues to this part of the play. (57) Legal terminology crops up repeatedly in Everyman and in some passages is fully integrated with the idea of the reckoning he must give. (58) Moreover, Margaret Bridges has shown that by the time of Everyman's writing, the particular terminology of accounting that the play uses had become entwined with the language of divine judgment; the entire motif of the reckoning Everyman must make before God itself implies a legal conception of the scenario. (59)

There is plenty of general support in Everyman and in affiliated traditions, then, for the more particular representation of Death as a summoner, and this more particular representation itself receives emphasis. The Messenger introduces this "morall play" by informing the audience that "The Somonynge of Eueryman called it is" (3-4); and this title is reinforced by several portrayals of Death's message as the execution of a king's summons, (60) some of which entail changes to Elckerlijc, where Die Doot's role as the bearer of a summons to court is occasionally mixed with other characterizations. (61) As with the account book, the English writer's modifications do not seriously alter the concepts involved, but they are informative as to his or her way of thinking about this element of the play. Nor is it necessary for an audience to have construed Death as a summoner based solely on evidence internal to Everyman. The comparison of death to a summoner bringing the individual before God for judgment was an established convention long before--it is found in fourteenth-century sermons as well as in the fifteenth-century Dance of Death tradition--and remained available at least until Shakespeare's time. (62) We even have evidence of one early reader's reception of Everyman to support the view that the legal act of summoning played a part in interpretation of the play: John Skot, the printer of the only two surviving complete copies, marked it as central to the play's content in his title page inscription (63) and affirmed the play's self-designation in line 4 in his recurrent signature title. (64) Because Skot was not only reading but also printing Everyman, of course, any way his interpretation found expression in his handling of the text might in turn influence a wider audience. Readers of Skot's editions encountered this running title, emphasizing the act of a quasilegal summoning, eight or nine times in twenty-nine pages of playtext, in the same large blackletter as the main text and flush up against it. (65)

So, what does it mean that Death is a summoner? It means that Everyman's response to Death is his response to an action modeled on a legal summons. And his first substantive answer to Death's message is his offer of a bribe:
 In thy power it lyeth me to saue;
 Yet of my good wyl I gyue the, yf thou wyl be kynde--
 Ye, a thousande pounde shalte thou haue--
 And dyfferre this mater tyll an other daye.

Summoners in late Middle English literature were stereotypically avaricious and bribable. (66) Chaucer's two in The Canterbury Tales are probably the most famous--the pilgrim Summoner who overlooks indiscretions if he is properly rewarded, and the one in The Friar's Tale who does the same as well as extorting the innocent (67)--but Langland was equally certain that the duties and powers of the office lent themselves to abuse. (68) By the fifteenth century, such critiques of greedy, dishonest summoners had become predictable. Lydgate in his Dance of Death does not doubt his audience's readiness to attribute corruption to summoners generally and assumes that manipulation of legal processes for personal gain will be seen as typical. Lydgate's Death ironically allows that the Bailiff is well versed in truth and right "according to the custom of his position," (69) and the Bailiff confirms his illicit influence in judicial procedures in a statement that makes plain the implications of Everyman's conspiratorial acknowledgment to his summoner, Death, that "in thy power it lyeth me to saue" (120):
 Some-tyme with Juges / what me liste to spede
 Lai yn my my[??]te / be favoure or for mede.
 (Dance of Death 276-77)

Closer to Everyman's time, and within the corpus of Middle English drama, we find a portrait of a corrupt summoner on the prowl for bribes in N-Town pageant 14 (The Trial of Mary and Joseph). Like Lydgate, the writer seems confident that the audience will understand the stereotype instantly: the dean named Sym Somnore behaves in a manner that clearly was to be regarded as typical of his office. As the play begins, Sym runs down a long list of names whose real point is its inclusiveness; he calls any and all citizens to court indiscriminately (14.1-33). Making a claim parallel to those in both The Dance of Death and Everyman that a sufficiently motivated summoner can bring about a favorable conclusion to a case, he warns the audience, "loke ze rynge wele in zoure purs, / For ellys zoure cawse may spede be wurs" (14.25-26), and he later summarizes his own activities and methods thus:
 If bat I rolle zow up in my race,
 For fere I xal do zoure ars qwake!
 But zit sum mede and ze me take,
 I wyl withdrawe my gret rough toth.
 Gold or sylvyr I wyl not forsake,
 But do evyn as all somnorys doth.

Of particular note is the categorical last statement. It, along with other features of these lines, contrasts with exactness Death's reply to Everyman:
 Dethe: Eueryman, it may not be by no waye.
 I set not by golde, syluer, nor rychesse,
 For, and I wolde receyue gyftes grete,
 All the worlde I myght gete;
 But my custome is clene contrary.
 (Everyman 124-29)

Sym Somnore's remarks in the N-Town Trial probably signal an attempt by the players to take up an offering from the crowd of spectators, (70) and if so, then they strongly suggest the audience's expected complicity in the stereotype: the effectiveness and humor of such a device would depend on a shared sense of this behavior as characteristically "summoner-like," even if farcically hyperbolic. The N-Town manuscript was made after 1468 and perhaps as late as the start of the sixteenth century, and its period of continued textual modification overlaps with the time of Everyman's composition and circulation in print. (71)

Satirical contexts such as these, (72) then, are one environment in which we should understand Everyman's encounter with Death near the beginning of the play. Everyman's attempt to bribe his summoner fits a traditional discourse about the greed of summoners, and Death's reply to him fits into the same discourse, but as an inversion of it, emphasizing that this is no ordinary summoner. Now, the idea that mortality is no respecter of persons is traditional, and it was sometimes expressed in remarks about how futile it would be, hypothetically, to think of bribing death; (73) this notion is not original to Everyman. What makes Everyman's treatment of this scene interesting is what happens when a universal protagonist actually makes an attempt to buy off Death. We have now moved from a theoretical possibility, raised only to be authoritatively dismissed, to an interaction in which a free moral agent (and what is more, one supposed to represent human beings at large) attempts to do something immoral.

Everyman's behavior is guided by an implied environment of general worldly corruption. It is the same environment invoked by satires against summoners, but instead of directing attention to official abuses, the play points to Everyman's own willingness to participate in the corruption as he aligns himself with crooked officials rather than with the normative voices of the satiric tradition that rebukes them. Himself a striver after material gain and a believer in the omnipotence of money, Everyman assumes that he and his arresting officer will speak the same language of self-interest and profit. Of course, they do not. This summoner is honest, the summons is real, and the Judge is waiting.

Everyman's attempt to escape his summons with a bribe is an important backdrop to his interaction with Goods. At a moment of some tension in the first part of the play--the moment at which he will learn directly and finally that what he has valued most will not help him--Everyman's unreformed character is summarized by his assertion that "money maketh all ryght that is wronge" (413). Let us return now to this statement and consider it in its fuller context:
 [Eueryman:] I am sent for ...
 To gyue a strayte counte generall
 Before the hyest Iupyter of all.
 And all my lyfe I haue had ioye & pleasure in the,
 Therfore, I pray the, go with me;
 For, parauenture, thou mayst before God Almyghty
 My rekenynge helpe to clene and puryfye,
 For it is sayd euer amonge
 That "money maketh all ryght that is wronge."
 Goodes: Nay, Eueryman, I synge an other songe.

The problem, as we know, is that Everyman has to present his account book for review. Why does he ask Goods to go with him? It seems unlikely that Everyman simply confuses material wealth with the kind of value that his spiritual account book records, because he already possesses Goods, which means that any impact Goods is going to make on the account itself he will already have made. And indeed Goods has made an impact, since, as he goes on to explain in the subsequent lines, his own influence (as the object of Everyman's love) has made the ledger "blotted and blynde" (419). More important is the parallelism between this request and the earlier ones: Everyman has regarded Goods as a friend in the past, like Fellowship, Kindred, and Cousin, and now he wants Goods to go with him to give him support in his appearance before the judge. But getting advocacy in court from wealth is not like getting it from a friend or a kinsman: this request invites suspicion that Everyman hopes to use Goods in court and convert his money to legal power.

Goods deflates Everyman's guiding principle, his faith in the power of money to change his situation profoundly, in a single line ("nay, Eueryman, I synge an other songe"). Everyman has called attention to it as a proverb ("it is sayd euer amonge"), expecting to conclude his appeal with an irrefutable nugget of common wisdom, but Goods dismisses it as an empty jingle. Goods' refusal to affirm the legitimacy of the maxim is decisive, given that he himself is its topic. But the case is more complicated than it would be if Everyman were merely parroting a widely held opinion that happens to be wrong: more is at stake here than the rejection of an old saw. As a matter of fact, Everyman's motto is a fake proverb, or at least a terribly misconstrued one, and his calling attention to it as a popular saying would call attention also to this irony for an audience familiar with its usual applications. Here we see the English adapter adjusting his or her source in a way that seems designed to create new intertextual meanings. Like Everyman, Elckerlijc believes that Tgoet (Goods) can help him before God, but the corresponding exchange in Elckerlijc uses the imagery of cleansing a stain and has Tgoet answer by simply denying his utility in this matter. (74) Everyman discards the metaphor used in Elckerlijc, repackages the idea of money's efficacy in the language of folk wisdom, labels it as such, and has Goods contest it specifically on those terms.

Apothegms formulating the power of money as the ability to reverse right and wrong occur in a number of places in Middle English, but far from celebrating or impartially observing the influence of money, they invariably deplore it. (75) The sentiment is succinctly phrased in a rhyme from John Grimestone's sourcebook for preachers:
 {maket wrong rith.
 {maket day nith.
Pecunia {maket frend fo.
 {maket wele wo. (76)

Proverbially, money does not fix things--it breaks them. Everyman acts as though his statement means "money rectifies what is in need of rectification," whereas its traditional sense is "money causes what is (in fact) wrong to be accepted as right." Transforming wrong into right is like transforming day into night: it is not truly a matter of opinion, but by crossing enough palms with silver, one can convince the world to go along with a falsehood.

The proverb that Everyman misleadingly or uncomprehendingly cites has a close conceptual affiliation with "the miracles of money," a satirical motif in which money is substituted for instruments of God's own power and found to be even more potent in its real effects on earthly affairs. G. R. Owst, in illustrating this tradition, presents an illuminating passage from John Bromyard's Summa Praedicantium that compares silver to the Cross of Christ. Bromyard explains with poisonous irony that while the Holy Cross sometimes helps, money
 rectifies all cases in the courts of the false, however "tortuous"
 and "curved" they may be. And if it be had in plenty and in due
 reverence, it makes the lame walk and the captives go free. Deaf
 judges and lords and those in power, who--however unjust be your
 case--offer a deaf ear, it makes to hear. Thus "the deaf hear."
 Dumb advocates, also, it makes to speak. Thus "the dumb speak and
 the blind see" (77)

We should notice that Bromyard is criticizing the power of money in legal settings in particular. It is striking--and of great consequence in understanding this scene in Everyman--how often the more proverbial denunciations of money's power (like Grimestone's poem quoted above), which construct that power as the ability to invert right and wrong, likewise link it specifically to corruption in judicial contexts. Examples can be found in the literature of instruction or wisdom, such as Myne Awen Dere Sone:
 And pou be maister or justice
 For to gif dome in grete assyce,
 To take gifles I the forbede,
 For ofte will a man for mede
 Tome righte to wrange and wrange to ryghte.
 (727-31) (78)

The proverb occurs also in poems of social satire, in passages like this one from Sir Penny II:
 In kinges court es it no bote,
 ogaines sir peni forto mote,
 so mekill es he of myght;
 he es so witty, and so strang,
 pat be it neuer so mekill wrang,
 he will mak it right.
 (19-24) (79)

And a similar statement is found at least once in drama circulating in London at the same time as Everyman, when the vice Counterfeit Countenance boasts in Magnyfycence of his ability to distort judgment and reverse values: "Counterfet maters in the lawe of the lande,-- / Wyth golde and grotes they grese my hande, / In stede of ryght that wronge may stande" (431-33). (80)

When Everyman says that "money maketh all ryght that is wronge" then, he is indeed tapping into a familiar pre-existing discourse, as he claims to be doing. But he is on the wrong side of the lore. Proverbial formulations take much of their rhetorical force from their resonance with shared tradition, and the traditional environment of this atom of popular truth is complaint against the power of money, especially over courts of judgment. Just as he does when he attempts to bribe Death, Everyman adopts the position opposite to that which generates the satiric convention that informs the scene, identifying himself as part of the problem the proverb articulates in the form of folk wisdom. In his appropriation of the saying and his inversion of its ideology, he takes his place among the abusers of wealth rather than the righteously indignant who deploy those words against them. He probably speaks in a disingenuous euphemism when he says that Goods can help him "clene and puryfye" his account: the change Everyman is hoping Goods can effect will take place not in the account itself, but in the perception of the judge who must examine it.

Even without recognizing the special cue of the proverbial phraseology, readers and viewers of the play would have had reason to find Everyman's desire to bring Goods to a court appearance disquieting. The axiom about money's inversion of right and wrong, like the satire against summoners discussed above, is merely a subspecies of a broader, widespread, and enduring sociocritical literature against corrupt legal proceedings that abominates bribes and the preferential treatment of the rich. The triumph of money over justice with officers of both ecclesiastical and secular courts is denounced again and again from the thirteenth century forward. A 1456 lyric, The Bisson Leads the Blind, complains that
 The constery ys combryd with coueytyse,
 ffor trouth ys sonkyn vndur pe grounde;
 With offycyal nor den no fauour per ys,
 But if ser symony shewe pem syluer rovnde.
 (33-36) (81)

According to this tradition, those who needed the courts to respond to some injustice could find it impossible even to be heard. The narrator of the fifteenth-century poem London Lickpennymakes the rounds from court to court in London, but fails to provoke any interest in his case and concludes at the end of each attempt that "for lack of mony, I myght not speede"; (82) Lydgate harshly connects money with success in legal affairs in So as the Crabbe Goth Forward; (83) and another writer observes that none of the frantic activity one can see at Westminster is in the service of those who "whante money to plede the lawe." (84) However, those able to bring money to court, as Everyman intends to do, will find that their legal causes are irresistably persuasive: a poem showing the traditions continuity well into the sixteenth century declares that
 Sir penny is a man off law
 Wit 3e weill bayth wys and war
 And mony rasownis can furthe schaw
 Quhone pat he standis at pe bar
 Is nane sa wyiss can him defar
 Quhone he proponis furthe ane pley
 Nor 3it sa hardy man pat dar
 Sir pennye tyne or disobey.
 (Sir Penny 25-32) (85)

Of the many other examples that illustrate this satirical traditions popularity and durability, (86) we will cite only a few that bring us close to Everyman in genre and religious purpose. Lydgate's Dance of Death returns several times to the stereotype of the greedy court officer: besides Death's exchange with the Bailiff, mentioned previously, Lydgate uses this motif in his vignettes of the Advocate and the Juror. (87) The fifteenth-century English stage, too, contributes to this tradition. Sym Somnore in the N-Town Trial of Mary and Joseph has already been discussed and need only be mentioned again here. A sustained dramatic critique of corruption in courts of law, and its link with avarice, is found in Wisdom, in which the faculty of Understanding, once he succumbs to temptation, is represented as a guileful lawyer. Understanding explains his methods:
 I vse jorowry,
 Enbrace questys of perjury,
 Choppe and chonge wyth symonye,
 And take large yeftys.
 Be pe cause neuer so try,
 I preue yt fals, I swere, I lye,
 Wyth a quest of myn affye.

"Wo wyll haue law must haue monye" he states frankly (666). (88) Later, when Mind, Will, and Understanding preside over choreographed "disguisings" representing their followers, Understanding renames himself Perjury and directs a procession of jurors who make rulings according to bribes and serve "Covetyse" (717-44). The tradition remained current in early sixteenth-century morality drama. Pity complains in Hick Scorner that "Extorsyon is called lawe so god me spede / Worse was hyt ne[u]er" ([Biii.sup.r]), and in The World and the Child, Folly explains that he frequents Westminster because he is an avaricious lawyer:
 Manhode: Herke, felowe, why doost thou to Westmynster drawe?
 Folze: For I am a seruaunt of the lawe.
 Couetous is myne owne felowe;
 We twayne plete for the kynge,
 And poore men that come from vplande,
 We wyll take theyr mater in hande;
 Be it ryght or be it wronge,
 Theyr thryfte with vs shall wende.
 (574-81) (89)

Allegations of the undue influence of money in courts of law had a high degree of predictability, then, in late Middle English and early Tudor literature, including drama, and Everyman's earlier scene with Death has already brought the possibility of bribery into the ambit of audience awareness. Both that scene and this one with Goods show that Everyman lives in a society regularly enough swayed by avarice that he expects his wealth to provide him with the means to escape accountability. His willingness to benefit from that system marks him, too, as a contributor to the corruption.

Of course, Everyman is using the wrong frames of reference, and both of his attempts to involve money in this metaphysical process of judgment are summarily defeated. Goods is confident that he could help "& ye in the worlde haue sorowe or aduersyte" (401, emphasis added), but he knows that if he were to try to intervene in God's judgment, Everyman would "fare moche the worse" because of it (417). Everyman is aware that the Judge and the judgment before him are not of the world (404-7), but he seems to find it inconceivable that any court anywhere is truly beyond the influence of Goods. (90) So incredible is this notion to Everyman that he treats Goods' explanation of why his ledger is a mess as finally beside the point, there being no possibility (he seems to think) that he will actually be subject to judgment on the merits. He calls Goods again to accompany him to court, as if he is changing the subject from the unpleasant facts of the case, which he has by now reduced to a hypothetical eventuality:
 [Goodes:] ... bycause on me thou dyd set thy mynde,
 Thy rekenynge I haue made blotted and blynde,
 That thyne accounte thou can not make truly--
 And that hast thou for the loue of me!
 Eueryman: That wolde greue me full sore,
 Whan I sholde come to that ferefull answere.
 Vp, let vs go thyder to-gyder.
 (418-24, emphasis added)

Luckily (or providentially) for Everyman, Goods cannot go along, because only then is he forced to turn to Good Deeds for help, and Good Deeds directs him to Knowledge who in turn leads him to Confession.

The final step is Everyman's declaration of his plans for restitution and almsgiving in his will (696-705). The earlier of Skot's two prints gives special emphasis to the word almes in line 699, (91) and indeed its citation there is the culmination of a series of references in the play. Almsgiving has been hailed as a remedy for Everyman's problem from the start, two earlier passages having marked it as a sure aid to his cause:
 [Dethe:] He that loueth rychesse I wyll stryke with my darte,
 His syght to blynde, and fro heuen to departe--
 Excepte that almes be his good frende--
 In hell for to dwell, worlde without ende.

 [Goodes:] ... yf thou had me loued moderately durynge,
 As to the poore gyue parte of me,
 Than sholdest thou not in this dolour be,
 Nor in this grete sorowe and care.

Death and Goods, not incidentally, are the two characters in this play who speak to Everyman about riches with authority, correcting his mistaken perceptions and offering him no false comfort. They are also the two characters whom Everyman has tried to involve in illicit dealings. Seen in the context of these earlier scenes, it becomes clear that when he provides for his wealth to be distributed in restitution and alms, Everyman effectively resolves his two previous, immoral attempts to establish links between the earthly and the divine economy by finding an appropriate means of transforming material capital into its spiritual counterpart. In his almsgiving, the moral choices Everyman makes finally converge with the ideologically normative position presented within the satiric discourse about wealth that informs the play.

It is hardly necessary to state the ubiquity of instructive literature advocating almsgiving as a penitential act or a work of charity; but of precise relevance to Everyman is the sociocritical strain of that literature, which decries the failure of almsgiving by the wealthy. In Wynnere and Wastoure, Winner is criticized for stockpiling his wealth rather than sharing it with the poor, in a passage that echoes the scripture from the Sermon on the Mount with which we began this essay and anticipates Everyman in its reference to giving half of one's wealth in alms. (92) Similar critiques are common throughout the fifteenth century; both Hoccleve and Lydgate, for example, point out the failure of the rich to fulfill their moral obligation to the poor. (93) Two of the printed plays contemporary with Skot's editions of Everyman emphatically make the same point. But by this time, the complaint has become less apt to disregard the source of wealth, as Hoccleve's and Lydgate's comments had done, and more directly targets men of commerce: those who strive for riches. In Rastell's Nature of the Four Elements, the introductory monologue spoken by the Messenger sets, specifically, the pursuit of wealth (rather than merely the withholding of it) against godly concern for one's neighbor:
 But what dyuylish myndes haue they which musing
 And labouryng all their 1yffes do no nother thyng
 But bringe ryches to their owne possessyon
 Nothyng regardinge their neyghbours distruccion

 A great wytted man may sone be enrychyd
 That laboryth and studyeth for ryches only
 But how shall his conscyens than be discharged
 For all clerkes afferme that that man presysely
 whiche studyeth for his owne welth pryncypally
 Of god shall deserue but lytyll rewarde
 Except he the commyn welth somwhat regarde.

In Gentleness and Nobility, the virtuous Plowman's remarks about merchants identify two alternative models of behavior with respect to commercial wealth, one positive and the other negative:
 Many be good and worshipful also
 And many charitable dedis they do
 Byld churchys & amend the hye ways
 Make almyshowsys & help many decays
 But some be couetous & full falsely
 Get theyr goodis by dysseyt & vsury
 And when they haue a in theyr cofers
 They wyll rathyr suffer theyr neyghbers
 To sterue for hunger & cold & to dye
 Or they wyll gyfe to help them a peny.

In both of these plays, as in Everyman, only through their application to the needs of the community can riches be reconciled with Christian virtue. Almsgiving is not only a spiritual but a social responsibility, and for most of his life Everyman has been shirking it, once again identifying himself with behaviors that attract righteous opprobrium in the conventional discourse of complaint about abuses of wealth.

An especially salient passage in Nature closely parallels the central problem and its solution in Everyman and similarly asserts a correlation between the handling of material riches and one's prospects in the spiritual reckoning. In admonishing Man against his avaricious tendencies, Medwall's character Liberality echoes the language and concepts governing so much of Everyman's structure, and does so in a context of direct instruction as to the uses of wealth:
 Thou must thy worldly goodys so employ
 In charytable dedys wyth due compassyon,
 That thou mayst bye everlastynge joy
 For the good intent of that dystrybucyon.

 For trust yt well, thou must geve a rekenyng
 Of all the goodys that com to thyn use.
 The hygh juge that knoweth all thyng,

 He wyll be thyn audytour in thys case,
 Fro whom thou canst not hyde thy face.

 There shalt thou openly shew and confesse
 How that goodys cam to thy possessyon,
 What mynde and pleasure thou hadyst in ryches,
 And why thou hadyst therin suche affeccyon,
 What almes dede or other good dystrybucyon,
 Or how thou hast these goodys wasted or abused.
 (2.1293-96, 1300-12)

Given the conspicuous agreement of Everyman and Nature on the connection between riches and the individual soul's reckoning before God, Man's exchange with Liberality in Medwall's play can also shed light on Everyman's coupling of restitution with almsgiving in his testament:
 [Lyberalyte:] If thou hast wrongfully taken away
 Any mannys good, go wythout delay
 And therof to thy power make due restytucyon,
 For erst shalt thou have of thy syn no remyssyon.

 Man: Why, trowe ye that I shall not be excused
 By almes dede of that offense?
 Lyberalyte: No, no, hardely, thou art gretely abused!
 Thynk not therby to make recompence.
 (Nature 2.1268-75)

Indeed, Everyman himself states that some of his money is ill-gotten when he designates that half his wealth is "to be retourned there it ought to be" (702). This is hardly surprising; late medieval social satire routinely treated crafty and false dealing as inseparable from vigorous commercial enterprise. Thus the merchant Jonathas in the Croxton Play of the Sacrament vows, after his conversion, to "walke by contre and cost, / Owr wyckyd lyuyng for to restore" (964-65), even though there has been no prior reference to his wealth as dishonestly gained; and as a late medieval lyric explains,
 money to Incresse, marchandys neuer to cease
 wyth many a sotell wyle;
 Men say the wolde for syluer and golde
 Ther owne faders begyle.
 (Money, Money 33-36) (94)

The implication that Everyman's wealth has been deceitfully obtained fits perfectly into the network of details that defines his conventional character type.

In providing for both almsgiving and restitution, then, Everyman at last separates himself from the position targeted by the discourse of social complaint, extricating himself from social abuses rooted in avarice and taking a place among those who act morally, for the public good, with their wealth. It is appropriate to Everyman's methods from the beginning that its treatment of material wealth should neither evaporate into a cloud of theology nor boil down to an interiorized pursuit of spiritual virtue. Everyman has to rectify his behavior and perform his change in attitude about worldly goods, not just feel it. With his restitution, he makes satisfaction, transforming his money into a spiritual treasure, the "precyous iewell" of penance (557-58); and with his almsgiving, he converts Goods into Good Deeds, which have been made efficacious by his claiming the gift of grace through his sacramental participation. Both actions together change Everymaffs money into something having worth in the metaphoric economy of salvation. As we might by now expect, this restoration to grace, this recuperation of spiritual capital, is presented in its outward aspect: even though we have been told that contrition buys forgiveness (645-46), all of the emphasis in the play falls not on contrition as private remorse felt by Everyman, but on its active, community-sustaining manifestations through the sacraments of the church and social charity.

Everyman is much more concrete in its representation of both worldly and spiritual concerns than most accounts of it allow. The two are linked together through the concept of wealth, such that the literal economy complements the metaphoric, soteriological one to create the drama of Everyman's reform and salvation. The play's concentration on avarice allows it to interact innovatively with the literature of complaint against corrupt officials so that it shows the entanglement of the private individual in those systems of abuse. The conventions and corresponding expectations of that sociocritical discourse position Everyman first in conflict with its received ideology, and then, as he repents and reforms, in compliance with it. Ever)man thus constructs a practical social message: it challenges the stereotypical tendency of the profit-seeking class to reduce all values to economic considerations and dramatizes a successful-and outwardly imitable--transition from materialism to a value system acknowledging the primacy of the spiritual.


University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Texas A & M University


(1) V. A. Kolve, "Everyman and the Parable of the Talents," in The Medieval Drama: Papers of the Third Annual Conference of the Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton, 3-4 May 1969, ed. Sandro Sticca (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1972), 69-98; 72, 71.

(2) Ibid., 72. Working independently of Kolve, John W. Velz also advocated reading Everyman in light of the Parable of the Talents and recognized the importance of the play's economic language; see his briefer discussion in "Episodic Structure in Four Tudor Plays: A Virtue of Necessity," "Comparative Drama 6 (1972-73): 88-90.

(3) Thus, for instance, when he writes that "goods ... must become good deeds" (a formulation with which we agree, as will become clear), Kolve hastens to remind readers that Goods "here stand[s] in for all of the talents" ("Everyman and the Parable," 85), which he has earlier identified as the characters of the second half of the play, "Beaute, Strength, Dyscrecion, V. Wyttes, Knowledge, and even Confessyon" (75).

(4) The Vulgate Bible is cited from B. Fischer et al., eds., Biblia sacra iuxta vulgatam versionem, 4th ed., rev. R. Weber (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1994).

(5) Matt. 6:2-4, 24.

(6) See Matt. 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8:1-18; and also Matt. 21-22, where Jesus runs rhetorical circles around the chief priests, Pharisees, and Sadducees, largely because they cannot catch on to the application of his parables. On the inherent elusiveness of parables, see Frank Kermode, The Genesis of Secrecy: On the Interpretation of Narrative (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), 2-3, 23-47.

(7) The approximate date of Everyman's source, Elckerlijc, is 1485. The fact that Everyman survives in four distinct editions over a period of about twenty years implies some popularity, and indeed W. W. Greg suggests that "the chances would be against such a distribution unless there had been at least ten" early editions (A Bibliography of the English Printed Drama to the Restoration, 4 vols. [London: University Press, Oxford, 1939-59], 1:82). The two earlier, both now fragmentary, were printed by Thomas Pynson, and the two later, both complete, by John Skot. Each of the four survives in a unique copy. Modern editions are based on the earlier of Skot's two, now at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. We cite Everyman from A. C. Cawley, ed., Everyman (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1961), except as otherwise noted; a few remarks will be based on examination of the Huntington original.

(8) Hick Scorner was written between 1513 and 1516 and printed by Wynkyn de Worde c.1515-16 (Ian Lancashire, ed., Two Tudor Interludes: "The Interlude of Youth," "Hick Scorner," The Revels Plays [Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1980], 1-13); The World and the Child was written perhaps c.1508 and printed by Wynkyn de Worde in an extant edition of 1522 besides being documented in an earlier edition of 1520 (Ian Lancashire, "The Auspices of The World and the Child," Renaissance and Reformation 12 [1976]: esp. 97-99); Youth was written between 1513 and 1514 and printed by Wynkyn de Worde c.1532-33 (Lancashire, Two Tudor Interludes, 17-24); Nature was written in the 1490s and printed c.1530 by William Rastell (Alan H. Nelson, ed., The Hays of Henry Medwall [Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1980], 3); Magnyfycence was written between 1515 and 1523, perhaps between 1520 and 1522, and printed c.1530 probably by John Rastell (Paula Neuss, ed., Magnyfycence, The Revels Plays [Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1980], 10, 15-17); The Nature of the Four Elements was written after 1517 and printed between 1525 and c. 1530 by John Rastell (Greg, Bibliography, 1:85); and Gentleness and Nobility may have been written c.1527 and was printed shortly thereafter by John Rastell (Glynne Wickham, Early English Stages, vol. 3, Plays and Their Makers to 1576 [London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981], 327; cf. Greg, Bibliography, 1:86). A few other surviving plays were written and printed during the same period (see Greg, ibid., 1:81-94) but have less relevance to Everyman for the present purposes.

English plays other than Everyman will be cited from the following editions: the York cycle from Richard Beadle, ed., The York Plays (London: Edward Arnold, 1982); the Towneley plays from Martin Stevens and A. C. Cawley, eds., The Towneley Plays, 2 vols., EETS s.s. 13-14 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994); the N-Town plays from Stephen Spector, ed., The N-Town Play: Cotton MS Vespasian D.8, 2 vols., EETS s.s. 11-12 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991); the Chester cycle from R. M. Lumiansky and David Mills, eds., The Chester Mystery Cycle, 2 vols., EETS s.s. 3 and 9 (London: Oxford University Press, 1974-86); the Coventry Shearmen and Taylors' Pageant from Pamela M. King and Clifford Davidson, eds., The Coventry Corpus Christi Plays, Early Drama, Art, and Music Monograph Series 27 (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2000); the Digby Mary Magdalen from Donald C. Baker, John L. Murphy, and Louis B. Hall Jr., eds., The Late Medieval Religious Plays of Bodleian MSS Digby 133 and E Museo 160, EETS o.s. 283 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982); the Croxton Play of the Sacrament from Norman Davis, ed., Non-Cycle Plays and Fragments, EETS s.s. 1 (London: Oxford University Press, 1970); The Castle of Perseverance, Wisdom, and Mankind from Mark Eccles, ed., The Macro Plays, EETS o.s. 262 (London: Oxford University Press, 1969); Medwall's Nature and Fulgens and Lucres from Nelson, The Plays of Henry Medwall; Skelton's Magnyfycence from Magnyfycence: A Moral Play, ed. Robert Lee Ramsay, EETS e.s. 98 (London: Oxford University Press, 1908; reprint, 1958); Gentleness and Nobility from A. C. Partridge and F. P. Wilson, eds., Gentleness and Nobility, Malone Society Reprints 85 (London: Malone Society, 1950); The World and the Child from Clifford Davidson and Peter Happe, eds., The Worlde and the Chylde, Early Drama, Art, and Music Monograph Series 26 (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1999); and Hick Scorner, Youth (in the Waley edition), and The Nature of the Four Elements from the facsimiles in the series Old English Drama: Students' Facsimile Edition [gen. ed. John S. Farmer], nos. 40 (Hickscorner, issued n.d., from facsimile made in 1908), 128 (Youth, issued n.d., from facsimile made in 1909), and 31 (The Nature of the Four Elements, issued n.d., from facsimile made in 1908).

(9) A motivation that Jacqueline Vanhoutte has suggested underlies studies of Everyman that treat it as an English work ("When Elckerlijc Becomes Everyman: Translating Dutch to English, Performance to Print," Studies in the Humanities 22 [1995]: 100-1). But the priority of Elckerlijc is no longer disputed as a datum of literary history--Everyman's derivation from it has been considered a foregone conclusion by informed commentators since the mid- 1970s--and it makes sense to read a work in light of other works (in this case, English ones) that would have influenced audience interpretation.

(l0) It is crucial to see Everyman as an adaptation, albeit a close one, and not always an exact translation. Those who have analyzed the plays in tandem and accepted the priority of Elckerlijc have typically assumed that the Everyman writer attempted near-reproduction of the Dutch play and botched the job. This critical bias has caused most commentators to perceive only crude omission or de-emphasis in Everyman of ideas and structures present in the source. Particularly illustrative of this tendency is Jan Pritchard, "On Translating Elckerlijc, Then and Now," Dutch Crossing 22 (1984): 38-48; Pritchard points out rightly that "Elckerlijc is not exactly Everyman" (47), but proceeds to make a number of incautious claims about the latter that fail to consider negative or mitigating evidence. While several points in the English text do appear to reveal its writer's imperfect command of Middle Dutch, this fact does not obviate attention to the effects of possibly deliberate alteration. Instances in which the English writer has acted constructively, adding new elements to or further emphasizing existing elements of the earlier play, have been virtually overlooked by scholars. The rare exceptions include John Conley, "The Doctrine of Friendship in Everyman," Speculum 44 (1969): 374-82, and C. J. Wortham, "Everyman and the Reformation," Parergon 29 (1981): 23-31.

(11) David Mills goes so far as to suggest that its Dutch origin was actively suppressed by its first printers for political reasons ("Anglo-Dutch Theatres: Problems and Possibilities," Medieval English Theatre 18 [1996]: 87-88).

(12) A great many studies of Everyman miss this fact, but several either state it outright or can be seen to assume it: Thomas Van Laan, "Everyman: A Structural Analysis" PMLA 78 (1963): 468; Dennis V. Moran, "The Life of Everyman," Neophilologus 56 (1972): 324-30; Donald F. Duclow, "Everyman and the Ars Moriendi: Fifteenth-Century Ceremonies of Dying" Fifteenth-Century Studies 6 (1983): 93-113; Pritchard, 42; David Mills, "The Theatres of Everyman," in From Page to Performance: Essays in Early English Drama, ed. John A. Alford (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1995), 136-37; and Denise Ryan, "'If Ye Had Parfytely Chered Me': The Nurturing of Good Deeds in Everyman; Notes and Queries 240 (1995): 165-68. Although he does not mention Everyman, John C. Coldewey points out that economic matters "lie at the heart" of the subject matter of many Middle English plays ("Some Economic Aspects of the Late Medieval Drama," in Contexts for Early English Drama, ed. Marianne G. Briscoe and John C. Coldewey [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989], 80), and the generalization certainly applies here.

(13) Everyman states his intention to reward Fellowship for his help (234-35). Fellowships emphatic gesture of dismissing the offer (236-38) seems obsequious and insincere in view of his exclamation only a moment later that not even for a material reward (a new gown) would he follow through on what he has previously acknowledged to be his sworn companionship (292-93, 248, 254-58). Between the lines of the whole exchange--which Everyman sums up with the proverb, "In prosperyte men frendes may fynde, / Whiche in aduersyte be full vnkynde" (309-10)--is the implication that he has been known to reward friendship materially and that such rewards do normally carry some weight with Fellowship.

(14) J. H. Herrtage, ed., The Early English Versions of the Gesta Romanorum, EETS e.s. 33 (London: Oxford University Press, 1879; reprint, 1932), 127-28.

(15) In addition to the two versions from the Gesta Romanorum, see Il. 2035-133 of John C. Hirsh, ed., Barlam and Iosaphat: A Middle English Life of Buddha, EETS o.s. 290 (London: Oxford University Press, 1986); The Golden Legend, or Lives of the Saints, as Englished by William Caxton, 7 vols. (London: J. M. Dent and Co., 1900), 7:94-95; sermon 15 in Woodburn O. Ross, ed., Middle English Sermons Edited from British Museum MS. Royal 18 B.xxiii, EETS o.s. 209 (London: Oxford University Press, 1960), 86/6-88/27; tale 58 in Mary MacLeod Banks, ed., An Alphabet of Tales: An English 15th-Century Translation of the "Alphabetum Narrationum" of Etienne de Besancon, 2 vols., EETS o.s. 126-27 (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., 1904-5), 1:42-43; and Il. 1013-340 of The Thrie Tailes of the Thrie Priests of Peblis, in David Laing, ed., Early Popular Poetry of Scotland and the Northern Border, rev. W. Carew Hazlitt, 2 vols. (London, 1895), 1:158-68.

(16) The faithful friend is good works in Barlam and losaphat, Caxton's Golden Legend, and The Thrie Tailes of the Thrie Priests of Peblis.

(17) The artes moriendi have long been seen as part of the philosophical and literary environment in which we must view Everyman. Besides the introductions and commentary in critical editions of the play, see Helen S. Thomas, "Some Analogues of Everyman" Mississippi Quarterly 16 (1963): 97-103; Duclow; and Phoebe S. Spinrad, "The Last Temptation of Everyman," Philological Quarterly 64 (1985): 185-94.

(18) See the anonymous Book of the Craft of Dying, chap. 2, pt. 5 (in Frances M. M. Comper, ed., "The Book of the Craft of Dying" and Other Early English Tracts Concerning Death [London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1917], 19-20); Caxton's Art and Craft to Know Well to Die, chap. 2, pt. 5 (in Comper, 64-65); and analysis by Duclow, esp. 96-97 and 104-5. Cf. also Spinrad, esp. 190, though she less persuasively finds in Everyman the operation of all five temptations named in artes moriendi.

(19) These lines undermine the opinion of Pritchard and Vanhoutte that a change of wording in God's earlier speech in Everyman weakens Elckerlijc's allegation that the protagonist has substituted wealth for God (Pritchard, 42; Vanhoutte, 105). The statement in line 458 that Everyman has put wealth in the place of God is not present at the corresponding point in Elckerlijc, which would seem to counterbalance the effects of the earlier change.

(20) Nor is Everyman unique in this way; morality protagonists often are not devoid of particularization. Mankind in the play of that name is an agricultural laborer, and the representative human in several other plays occupies or rises to a place of aristocratic privilege. A similar observation about the particularization of morality protagonists is made by Charlotte K. Spivak, "Self as Subject in the Morality Drama," Cahiers Elisabethains 59 (2001): 3-5. Vanhoutte's claims that Everyman is made generic through alterations to Elckerlijc are exaggerated (102-5; see relevant remarks in Pritchard).

(21) Pritchard has pointed out this slant to Elckerlijc but believes it is weakened in Everyman (41). We will argue below that Everyman at least retains and may even fortify these associations.

(22) Mills, "Theatres of Everyman; 137-38. Mills is anticipated in this claim by Van Laan, 469. William Tydeman refers in passing to Everyman as "a well-to-do burgher" (English Medieval Theatre, 1400-1500 [London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986], 2), a view more in keeping with ours.

(23) Indeed, one stock subtype of the gallant is "Proud Penniless" a spendthrift who blows any money he comes into on vanities. Even when that particular motif is not brought into the portrait of a gallant, all the emphasis falls on his dedication not to whatever wealth he may have, but to attaining ever loftier heights of fashionable display and frivolity. Diligent acquisitiveness is quite alien to his lifestyle of free-spending riot.

(24) "Upon his heed a Flaundryssh bever hat, / His bootes clasped faire and fetisly. / His resons he spak ful solempnely, / Sownynge alwey th'encrees of his wynnyng" (The Canterbury Tales 1.272-75). The works of Chaucer are cited from The Riverside Chaucer, 3rd ed., gen. ed. Larry D. Benson (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1987).

(25) Sanford Brown Meech and Hope Emily Allen, eds., The Book of Margery Kempe, EETS o.s. 212 (London: Oxford University Press, 1940; reprint, 1997), 221/17-18,223/32, and 221/2930.

(26) See, for instance, Nature, where Pryde describes his elegant dress (1.739-70) and prompts Man to dress likewise (1.1022-81); Medwalls other known play, Fulgens and Lucrece, where the arrogant Cornelius is attired very similarly to Pryde in Nature (Fulgens and Lucres 1.717-70) and is accused by the virtuous Gayus of pride in association with his "nyse aray" (2.634-35); and the Digby Mary Magdalen, where a "galavnt" comes into a tavern describing his own fine dress (496-505) and later is identified by Bad Angel as "Pryde, callyd Curioste" (550).

(27) Many times in The Castle of Perseverance fine dress is associated with the temptation of the world, whose only directly attributed sin is avarice: see 11. 501,554-55,564-65,624-26, 705, 728,732, and 831. A similar link is found in Wisdom's portrayal of Understanding, who falls prey to the temptation of the world (see 11. 474, 510-11, and 558-65; Mind and Will, too, change into elegant clothing under the influence of the temptations of the devil and the flesh respectively). See Ann Eljenholm Nichols, "Costume in the Moralities: The Evidence of East Anglian Art" in Drama in the Middle Ages: Comparative and Critical Essays: Second Series, ed. Clifford Davidson and John H. Stroupe (New York: AMS Press, 1991), 284-87, for an argument that fashionable clothing can have a variety of sinful associations.

(28) E.g., King Herod, who is proud of his appearance and makes absurd claims of omnipotence and invincibility. See the Coventry Shearmen and Taylors' Pageant 436-70; Chester VIII. 16196; York XVI. 1-15; and Towneley XIV. 1-51 as well as the opening scenes of pageant XVI.

(29) The contrastive demarcation of these two character types is clear much earlier than Everyman, as in Wynnere and Wastoure (ed. Stephanie Trigg, EETS o.s. 297 [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997]).

(30) John Lydgate, The Dance of Death, ed. Florence Warren and Beatrice White, EETS o.s. 181 (London: Oxford University Press, 1931).

(31) As argued by Vanhoutte.

(32) In Everyman, the book is mentioned as a single, pre-existing object four times, each time in statements the English adapter has made more concrete or particular: see Everyman 104 ("thy boke of counte with the thou brynge") beside Elckerlijc 87-88 ("brengt u ghescriften ende u pampieren / Met u" [bring your writings and your papers / With you]); Everyman 134 ("all vnredy is my boke of rekenynge") beside Elckerlijc 118-19 ("mijn pampier / Es so verwerret ende so beslet" [my paper / Is so muddled and encumbered]); Everyman 136 ("my countyngeboke I wolde make ... clere") beside Elckerlijc 123-24 ("soudic mijn ghescrifte exponeren / Ende oversien" [I would put my records in order / And review them]); and Everyman 502 ("your boke of counte full redy had be") beside Elckerlijc 467-68 ("ic sou u rekeninghe, die nu onreyn is, / Ghesuvert hebben" [I should have cleansed your reckoning, / Which is now unclean]). Text and translations of Elckerlijc are given from John Conley et al., eds. and trans., The Mirror of Everyman's Salvation: A Prose Translation of the Original Everyman, Costerus n.s. 49 (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1985).

(33) Where Elckerlijc asks, "Hoe sal ic dat verstaen? / Rekeninghe? wat salt bedien?" [How am I to take that? / Reckoning? What does it mean?] (82-83), Everyman answers Death's announcement that he must make a reckoning with a statement: "To gyue a rekenynge longer layser I crane! / This blynde mater troubleth my wytte" (101-2).

(34) Perhaps used as a technical term for the sins of the flesh, traditionally lechery, gluttony, and sloth; but perhaps just referring to material pleasures.

(35) At first glance, this statement seems, quite discordantly, to identify pride as the subject of the play; but the "moral" that the Doctour mentions likely refers instead to the statement that has been made just previously by the Angel. The admonition against pride is probably to be grouped with what follows it, the Doctour's reminder that personal qualities desert everyone in the end. Undue pleasure in such attributes as Beauty, Strength, and so on is a conventional sign of pride in late medieval moral literature.

(36) As dramatized, for instance, in The World and the Child; cf. David Bevington's analysis (From "Mankind" to Madowe: Growth of Structure in the Popular Drama of Tudor England [Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962], 119). The principle is also explained by Avaricia in The Castle of Perseverance 1019-44.

(37) Mercy identifies all three temptations as major factors in Mankind's downfall (883-90) when he explains Nowadays, New-Guise, and Nought as collectively representing the temptation of the world, Titivillus that of the devil, and Mankind's own desires the temptation of the flesh. The correspondence of the play's action with this schema is loose at best, but Mercy's speech clearly signals a desire on the part of the playwright to range widely through the landscape of sinfulness.

(38) Our treatment of this metaphorical economy will differ from earlier ones, but it has received some discussion in previous scholarship. In addition to Kolve, "Everyman and the Parable," and Velz, "Episodic Structure," see in particular John Cunningham, "Comedic and Liturgical Restoration in Everyman," in Drama in the Middle Ages: Comparative and Critical Essays: Second Series, ed. Clifford Davidson and John H. Stroupe (New York: AMS Press, 1991), 368-79, which discusses the financial metaphor as one of four in the play that possibly derive from a prayer by Aquinas.

(39) Several such references can be added to the occurrences of reckoning and accountlisted by Kolve ("Everyman and the Parable," 95, n. 2). Kolve's tabulation misses the word reckoning in reference to the judgment in 11. 46, 101,134, 411,508,521,610, 898; and in addition to the instances of account he lists, see 11.104,136,344,502,503, and 507, all of which also gesture toward the judgment as an occasion at which an account must be made or a ledger presented.

(40) See also 447: "Therfore to thy soule Good is a thefe."

(41) In fact, its use in a theological sense was quite fresh: The words redeem and redeemer begin to appear in English only in the fifteenth century, and the verb's first recorded uses in reference to the purchase of human souls effected by the value of the spent blood of Christ (as in 584) are contemporary with Everyman. The noun redemption (in both secular and theological senses) begins to appear in the fourteenth century. See The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., s.w. 'redeem,' 'redeemer; and 'redemption"

(42) Both Pritchard (42-43) and Vanhoutte (105-6) recognize the quasifeudal relationship established between God and humankind in Elckedijc but overstate certain differences between the two plays so that it appears absent in Everyman.

(43) On the theology of the efficacy of good works, see Zacharias P. Thundy, "Good Deeds Rediviva: Everyman and the Doctrine of Reviviscence," Fifteenth-Century Studies 17 (1990): 421-37; and D. Ryan.

(44) In Elckerlijc 595-600, Duecht brings Elckerlijc's weldaet (good deeds, or perhaps capacity for virtuous action) along with her after her recovery to health. C. J. Wortham argues that the grammatically singular weldaet cannot mean "good deeds" collectively, but must refer instead to "virtue in action" or "a moral act" ("Everyman and the Reformation" 29-30). Wortham's sensitive discussion of the change from Duecht to Good Deeds (ibid., 25-30) is more persuasive than John J. Parker's argument that the two terms must really mean the same thing (The Development of the Everyman Drama from "Elckerlyc" to Hofmannsthal's "Tedermann" [Doetinchem: Drukkerij Ratio, 1970], 18).

(45) Everyman shares the participatory vigor, but not the sacramental nature, of this penance with Elckerlijc. On the omission of penance as a sacrament in Elckerlijc, see Wortham, "Everyman and the Reformation."

(46) Edited as appendix 2 of Meech and Allen, The Book of Margery Kempe (353-57). De Worde's pamphlet was reprinted with minor changes by Henry Pepwell in 1521.

(47) E. K. Chambers's remark that "perhaps the long passage on priesthood and the seven sacraments was introduced as a makeweight" (64) seems to have exerted a lasting influence despite being based on a misapprehension of the play's theology for which Chambers has been thoroughly rebuked by later writers; and the treatment of the priesthood passage in the introduction to Cawley's edition, where Cawley relegates all mention of it to a footnote referring to it as an "extension," helped to canonize the digression theory. See Chambers, English Literature at the Close of the Middle Ages, 2nd corr. impression, vol. 2, pt. 2 of The Oxford History of English Literature, ed. F. P. Wilson and Bonamy Dobree (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1947), 64; Cawley, Everyman, xxii, n. 2.

(48) Lawrence V. Ryan, "Doctrine and Dramatic Structure in Everyman" Speculum 32 (1957): esp. 732-34; David Bevington, Tudor Drama and Politics: A Critical Approach to Topical Meaning (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968), 36-37; Wortham, "Everyman and the Reformation," 23-31 (and cf. Geoffrey Cooper and Christopher Wortham, eds., The Summoning of Everyman [Nedlands: University of Western Australia Press, 1980], xxvii). Murdo William McRae, "Everyman's Last Rites and the Digression on Priesthood" College Literature 13 (1986): 305-9, also sees the passage as significant but makes a dubious case that it creates a dilemma for the playwright which, for McRae, explains the (supposed) absence of any visible figure of Priesthood.

(49) Bevington, in the midst of a fine analysis of the emphasis on priesthood and the sacraments in Everyman, refers to the "digressive nature" of Knowledge's speech (Tudor Drama and Politics, 37); Wortham mentions it only as evidence that the character Confession does not stand for priesthood and alludes to it obliquely when he says that the play affirms "the sacred role of priesthood ... despite the abuses of which individual members of the clergy may be accused" ("Ever)man and the Reformation," 25). Only L. Ryan truly integrates the speech of Knowledge into a fuller interpretation of Everyman (732-34).

(50) Correcting Cawley's "redempycon" The reading in the original is "redempcyo"([Cii.sup.r]).

(51) To our knowledge, such a comparison has never been made. It is even possible that, as L. Ryan suggests, Everyman's absence during part of the priesthood dialogue is a factor in critics' tendency to see it as a digression (733).

(55) Cawley, Everyman, n. 36 to 11. 750ff.

(53) Because Five Wits continues addressing Everyman through line 749 (naming him in 747), it is clear that the three remain together until that point. There is likely to have been a figure playing Priesthood, even though he has no lines. The second-person singular pronouns in 742-44 seem to demand this. Then a physical separation between Knowledge and Five Wits, on the one hand, and Everyman and Priesthood, on the other, must occur, not only because of the content of Knowledge's subsequent speech, but also because Everyman is cued to re-enter the action in 769. The easiest accommodation of these requirements would be for Knowledge and Five Wits to lead Everyman to Priesthood during Five Wits' monologue, reaching him by 742; Everyman and Priesthood to exit or withdraw, leaving Knowledge and Five Wits free to have their exchange about clerical abuses; and Everyman to re-enter the scene of action alone when cued by Five Wits.

(54) In this quotation we have restored "same sacrament," the reading shared by all four texts of Everyman, for Cawley's emendation "seuen sacramentes" (753), which scarcely fits with the sentence's reference to the corporal nature of Christ at his Passion and the fact that Everyman is receiving the Eucharist at that moment. Cawley's objection to the received text is that it does not agree with the plural pronoun "them" in the following line, but that pronoun could well refer to the Body and the Blood (which have been mentioned separately leading up to this speech)--or could itself be emended to "it" with less violence to the context and meaning than Cawley's adjustment does.

(55) Critics have often used the word summon, as Skot does in the title pages of his prints; have occasionally used the word arrest; and have even talked about a "Summons of Death" motif as being the plot type of Everyman (for references to the Summons of Death motif, see W. Roy Mackenzie, The English Moralities from the Point of View of Allegory [Boston: Ginn and Company, 1914], 202 and 206-10; Bevington, From "Mankind" to Marlowe, 117; Arnold Williams, "The English Moral Play before 1500" Annuale Mediaevale 4 (1963): 18-19; and Merle Fifield, "Methods and Modes: The Application of Genre Theory to Descriptions of Moral Plays," in Everyman and Company: Essays on the Theme and Structure of the European Moral Play, ed. Donald Gilman [New York: AMS, 1989], 21-28). But modern commentary has never explored the possibilities for an early audience's understanding of what is going on when Everyman interacts with a summoner. This officer, one of whose functions is to summon to court, might also be called a bailiff, sergeant, constable, apparitor, or dean. The details of each office are unimportant to the present argument, because officials going by these titles all had in common, at least sometimes, the function of summoning people to a court for examination or trial, and it is that function that is emphasized in the portrayals of them that will be cited. For convenience we will use the general term summoner, which describes the function we refer to, regardless of the title of office used in a given context.

(56) Pritchard (44-47) argues for this idea in Elckerlijc but thinks it is absent in the English play. Everyman does not directly translate some of Elckerlijc's legal phraseology, as Pritchard shows, but it does contain a substantial amount of legal language and certainly retains the concept of Everyman's hoped-for help from his friends before the Judge. The motif of legal advocacy is fulfilled when Good Deeds tells Everyman, as he approaches judgment, "Fere not; I wyll speke for the" (876).

(57) In the Unfaithful Friends story, the principal character's predicament is a required legal appearance before his king Oust as in Everyman), either for financial reasons (Barlam and Iosaphat, The Thrie Tailes of the Thrie Priests of Peblis) or criminal ones (real, as in the Alphabet of Tales and Caxton's Golden Legend, or only feigned, as in the two Gesta Romanorum versions). In Barlam and Iosaphat, The Golden Legend, and The Thrie Tailes of the Thrie Priests, what the faithful friend provides for the protagonist is advocacy in court. Another analogue, a seldom-studied work that is in many ways very similar to Everyman and was in contemporary circulation, The Lamentation of the Dying Creature (printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1514 and edited from an earlier manuscript in Comper, "Book of the Craft of Dying," 137-68), is a closet drama constructed entirely on the idea of a legal suit. The dying protagonist, after being summoned by Cruelty, approaches several virtues and his five wits, looking in vain for someone to speak for him in court. It culminates in his gaining the Virgin Mary's advocacy before Christ the Judge, which takes place in a long scene steeped in legal language and resonating a number of times with the phraseology of Everyman.

(58) See, for instance, 11. 42-63, 106-12, and 338-44.

(59) Margaret Bridges, "The Economics of Salvation: The Beginnings of an English Vocabulary of Reckoning," in Studies in Honour of Rene Derolez, ed. A. M. Simon-Vandenbergen (Ghent: Seminarie voor Engelse en Oud-Germaanse Taalkunde, R. U. G., 1987), 44-62. Since the time of her writing, Bridges's findings have been confirmed by The Middle English Dictionary, s.v. "reckoning."

(60) God as King "calleth" Everyman (20); Everyman explains to Fellowship that he has to appear "Before the hye Iuge, Adonay" (245); he tells Kindred and Cousin that he has been "commaunded" by "a hye kynges chefe offycer" (329-30); Good Deeds understands that Everyman has been "somonde .../ Before Myssyas, of Iherusalem kynge" (493-94); Everyman is afraid that he will be "dampned" when he appears "Before the Redemer of all thynge, / That Kynge is, and was, and euer shall" (510-13).

(61) Once in Elckerlijc, Die Doot is presented momentarily as a lesser lord ruling for a greater one by proxy: "Ick wil ter werelt gaen regneren" [I shall go to reign in the world] (57), changed in Everyman to "Lorde, I wyll in the worlde go renne ouer-all / And cruelly out-serche bothe grete and small" (72-73). Shortly afterward, Die Doot implies that he will have some role in the reckoning itself ("Ick ben die doot, die niemant en spaert / Maer Elckerlijck sal bi / Gods beveele doen rekeninghe mi" [I am Death, who spares no one. / But every man shall, by / God's command, give a reckoning to me], 99-101), an implication eliminated by the Everyman adapter in favor of a clear determination of Death's role as a summoner, with references to his authority to arrest: "I am Dethe that no man dredeth--/ For euery man I reste--and no man spareth; / For it is Goddes commaundement / That all to me sholde be obedyent" (115-18).

(62) Owst calls attention to a few instances (Literature and Pulpit in Medieval England: A Neglected Chapter in the History of English Letters and the English People [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1933], 532). A fourteenth-century sermon by John Waldeby describes "the solemn moment 'when Death, who is God's Bailiff, shall come to arrest' men" (Owst, ibid.), and another preacher, Thomas Wimbledon, in the late 1380s spoke at length about God's three summoners (sickness, old age, and death), introducing death as "pe pridde somenour to pis rekenyng ... and pe condicion of his is his: bat whanne so euere he comely--first, older secunde, oper last--he ne spareb neyber powere, ne zougpe; / ne he dredep no pretyng, ne takip hede of no praiere ne of no zifte; ne he grauntep no respit; but wipouten dalay he bryngep forp to pe dom" (Ione Kemp Knight, ed., Wimbledon's Sermon, "Redde Rationem Villicationis Tue": A Middle English Sermon of the Fourteenth Century [Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1967], p. 108,11. 751-56). In Lydgate's Dance of Death, Death several times represents himself as a summoner, using explicitly legal language, though the portrayal there seems principally to serve an ironic purpose as he addresses dying officers of the court: see 11.265-80 in the Ellesmere version (no analogue in the Lansdowne version), Ellesmere 11. 473-80 (Lansdowne 11. 337-52), and Ellesmere 11. 481-96 (Lansdowne 11. 417-32). The metaphor also occurs in a speech by Pity in Hick Scorner--
 Remembre god that is our heuen kynge
 For he wyll rewarde you after your deseruynge
 Whan deth with his mace dooth you areest
 We all to hym owe fewte and seruyce

--where it has an ironic dimension given the context of exuberant criminal activity (including an earlier boast by Imagination that he talked a suspicious bailiff out of arresting him for stealing a horse). As Owst points out (Literature and Pulpit, 532, n. 3), Shakespeare draws on the same tradition of death as a summoner in Hamlet 5.2.336-38: "Had I but time--as this fell sergeant, Death, / Is strict in his arrest--O, I could tell you-- / But let it be" (The Riverside Shakespeare, gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans, 2nd ed. [Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997]).

(63) "Here begynneth a treatyse how ye hye fader of heuen sendeth dethe to somon euery creature to come and gyue a counte of theyr lyues in this worlde / and is in maner of a morall playe" (cited from the Huntington text). In the only other complete early text of the play, also printed by Skot (British Museum Huth 32), the title page differs only in punctuation and orthography. See the facsimile of the Huth text in Everyman, [gen. ed. John S. Farmer], Old English Drama: Students' Facsimile Edition 25 (issued n.d., from facsimile made in 1912).

(64) "The Som." in Skot's earlier edition. In the Huth text it is spelled out each time (variously as The summenynge, The somonynge, and The summonynge).

(65) Twenty-nine pages of playtext in both the Huntington and Huth texts, excluding the title page and (in the Huntington Library copy) the verso of the last folio, which contains only the colophon. The signature title occurs nine times in the Huntington text and eight times in Huth.

(66) See the historical study of the office and its reputation by Louis A. Haselmayer, "The Apparitor and Chaucer's Summoner" Speculum 12 (1937): 43-57.

(67) The Canterbury Tales 1.649-58 and III.1321-26, 1338-78, 1434-42, and 1571-623.

(68) The B version of Piers Plowman mentions summoners repeatedly, each time drawing attention to their avarice and corruption. They are represented as sycophantic devotees of Lady Meed in passus 2, 3, and 4; another time in passus 2 they are saddled up to serve as the horses of personified Simony; and in passus 15 they take their place in a list of church officials who acquire money immorally and use it to support the interests of the wicked while allowing God's faithful to suffer want (see B 2.57-62 [cf. A 2.44-47 and C 2.57-64], 2.169-72 [cf. A 2.132-36 and C 2.184-96], 3.131-35 [cf.A 3.120-24 and C 3.168-72], 4.165-68 [cf. C 4.160-64], and 15.131-35 [cf. C 16.274-82]). Most harshly of all, in the later C version Langland portrays a summoner who deliberately situates himself outside the fortress of Holy Church:
 Thenne alle kyne cristene saue commune wommen
 Repenteden and forsoke synne, saue thei one
 And a sisour and a sompnour pat weren forsworen ofte;
 Wytyng and wilfully with the false helden
 And for suluer weren forswore--sothly thei wisten hit.
 (C 21.367-71)

Citations of the A, B, and C versions refer respectively to George Kane, ed., Piers Plowman: The A Version (London: University of London, Athlone Press, 1960); George Kane and E. Talbot Donaldson, eds., Piers Plowman: The B Version (London: University of London, Athlone Press, 1975); and George Russell and George Kane, eds., Piers Plowman: The C Version (London: Athlone Press, and Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997). References gathered with the aid of Joseph S. Wittig, Piers Plowman: Concordance (London: Athlone, 2001).

 Come forthe Sire Bailli / that knewe al the gise
 Bi zowre office of trewthe / & rightwisnesse
 ze moste come / to a newe assise
 Extorcions & wronges / to redresse.
 (Dance of Death 265-68)

(70) As suggested by Spector in his commentary (N-Town Play, 2:468, n. to 14.25; cf. 2:548). A similar device is found in Mankind 457-74, where the vices New Gyse, Nowadays, and Nought tell the audience they will not be able to see the devil Titivillus unless they contribute money; and Poverty in Skelton's Magnyfycence may have taken up a collection of money or food from the audience (see Neuse, Magnyfycence, 43-44).

(71) Spector, N-Town Play, l:xvi, xxii-xxvi, and xxxviii-xli.

(72) See Jill Mann, Chaucer and Medieval Estates Satire: The Literature of Social Classes and the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), 139-41, and especially Haselmayer, "Apparitor," for a few additional examples.

(73) E.g., Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde 4.505-6; Castle of Perseverance 2870.

 [Elckerlijc:] So bid ic u, mijn uutvercoren Goet,
 Dat ghi met mi gaet sonder cesseren;
 Want ghi mocht mi licht voer Gode pureren,
 Want tGoet kan suveren smetten claer.
 Tgoet: Neen, Elckeflijc, ic mocht u letten daer. (378-82)

 [Therefore I beg you, my beloved Goods,
 That you go with me without delay;
 For you could easily clear me before God,
 For goods can wipe out stains completely.
 Goods: No, Every-man, I might hinder you there.]

(75) Several, but not all, examples of this proverbial formula, stating the power of money as its ability to exchange wrong and right, are scattered through the entries of Bartlett ]ere Whiting with Helen Wescott Whiting, Proverbs, Sen tences, and Proverbial Phrases from English Writings Mainly before 1500 (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap, 1968); see G82, M494, M630, and P124; cf. M639. In his earlier discussion of proverbs in Everyman, Whiting includes lines 412-13 but does not note their inversion of the proverb's usual meaning (Bartlett ]ere Whiting, Proverbs in the Earlier English Drama, Harvard Studies in Comparative Literature 14 [1938; reprint, New York: Octagon Books, 1969], 93).

(76) As quoted in Owst, 317. For a survey and study of Grimestone's book, see Siegfried Wenzel, Preachers, Poets, and the EarIy English Lyric (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), 101-73.

(77) As translated in Owst, 316-17. "Dumb" in the final sentence of the quotation is corrected from Owst's "deaf." The error is most likely Owst's, but even if it is Bromyard's (Owst does not quote the Latin, and we have not had access to a text of the Summa Praedicantium to verify the reading) it is obvious and easily amended. Several proverbial statements also call attention to the quasimiraculous power of money: see for instance those listed in entries G296, M622, M631, and M633 in Whiting and Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases. Bromyard's formulation may derive part of its ironic force from its inversion of Ecclesiasticus 20:31 or (more distantly) Deuteronomy 16:19, scriptural passages underlying some medieval statements of the influence of money on judges and right judgment.

(78) Tauno F. Mustanoja, ed., "Myne Awen Dere Sone" Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 49 (1948): 145-93. Also King Solomon's Book of Wisdom 11.51-52: "with riche ne plede lvou nozt; / For oft lye rizth, porouz gret mede is in-to wrong y-brouzth" (in F. J. Furnivall, ed., "Adam Davy's 5 Dreams about Edward II," "The Life of St. Alexius," "Solomon's Book of Wisdom," "St. Jeremie's 15 Tokens before Doomsday," "The Lamentation of Souls," EETS o.s. 69 [London, 1878], 81-90).

(79) Poem no. 58 in Rossell Hope Robbins, ed., Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Centuries, corr. ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955). See also Sir Penny I 3-8: "peny of wrong he makyt ryzt / In euery cuntre qwer he goo. / pow I haue a man I-slawe / & forfetyd lye kynges lawe, / I xal fyndyn a man of lawe / Wyl takyn myn peny & let me goo" (poem 57 in ibid.).

(80) Not noticed in Whiting's discussion of Magnyfycence (Proverbs in the Earlier English Drama, 84-90).

(81) No. 49 in Rossell Hope Robbins, ed., Historical Poems of the XIVth and XVth Centuries (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959).

(82) Ibid., no. 50.

 Lawe halve putte Meede in gret distresse
 And avoyded hir acqueyntaunce,
 Pariuree in England and Fraunce
 Is fledde byyonde Mount Godard,
 Iuroures with Trouth haue allyaunce--
 So as lye crabbe goope forwarde.

 Sergeauntes, pleclirs of Kyndenesse,
 Haue made oon Guerdoun a defyaunce;
 Consistoryes for Hoolynesse,
 Bytweene hem and Meede is gret distaunce;

 So as lye crabbe goope forwarde.
 (19-28, 32)

Cited from Henry Noble MacCracken, ed., The Minor Poems of John Lydgate, 2 vols., EETS e.s. 107 and o.s. 192 (London: Oxford University Press, 1911-32; reprint, 1961), 2:466.

(84) See ll. 41-48 of Money, Money, no. 51 in Robbins, Historical Poems.

(85) In William A. Craigie, ed., The Maitland Folio Manuscript, Containing Poems by Sir Richard Maitland, Dunbar, Douglas, Henryson, and Others, 2 vols., Scottish Text Society n.s. 7 and 20 (Edinburgh: W. Blackwood and Sons, 1919-27), 1:399-400.

(86) Including A Satyre on the Consistory Courts, no. 6 in Robbins, Historical Poems; A Song on the Times, in Thomas Wright, ed., Political Songs of England, 195-205, esp. 197-202; Song on the Venality of the Judges, in Wright, ibid., 224-30; Piers Plowman B prol. 211-16; On the Times, in Thomas Wright, ed., Political Poems and Songs, 1:270-78, esp. 272-73; Sir Penny II, no. 58 in Robbins, Secular Lyrics, 11.43-48 (in addition to 11. 19-24 cited above); The Power of the Purse, no. 59 in Robbins, ibid., 11.33-36; Siegfried Wenzel, ed. and trans., Fasciculus Morum: A Fourteenth-Century-Preacher's Handbook (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1989), IV.ii.73-103 and 118-43 (pp. 316-18, 320); a rhyming statement in The Book of Margery Kempe 59112-16; and others cited by Owst, 348-49.

(87) See ll. 465-68 and 481-88.

(88) There are several other comments by Understanding and Mind to the same effect: see lines 653-54, 673-76, and 789-92.

(89) For the possibility of historical reference in this passage, see Lancashire, "Auspices," 98-99, but Lancashire may not account sufficiently for the conventional nature of such satire.

(90) Here again, the Lamentation of the Dying Creature is parallel to Everyman. In the Lamentation, the summoner warns the dying man explicitly that this judge will not be influenced by money (Comper, 138), and the dying man later repeats this apparently unusual restriction in his suit to the Virgin Mary (ibid., 148). This analogue shows both the commonness of the assumption (at least in literature) that courts would be swayed by wealth and the plausibility of perceiving an intention on Everyman's part to benefit from his riches in court.

(91) The word "almes" is followed by a virgule (1. 699 in Cawley's edition; fol. [[B.viii].sup.v] in the original), which is used quite sparingly in this text (as Cawley notes [Everyman, xxxvii]; Cooper and Wortham are mistaken in their claim [Summoning of Everyman, xlvii] that the only punctuation in the Huntington text is the full stop). This instance is unique: every other time a virgule appears, it either separates items in a series or marks a major syntactic division, such as a sentence or clause boundary. While one should not give this fact too much weight (in the Huth text, which uses the virgule much more frequently than the Huntington one, "almes" at the same point is not thus emphasized), it does point to either an exemplar or an early act of reading by John Skot or someone in his print shop that gave "almes" in 699 special stress.

(92) "What scholde worthe of that wele if no waste come? / Some rote, some ruste some ratouns fede. / Let be thy cramynge of thi kystes for Cristis lure of heuen / Late the peple and the pore hafe parte of thi siluere" (11. 253-56; cf. 296-98). In specifying the amount of alms as half of the subject's total wealth, both Everyman (as Kolve notes in "Everyman and the Parable," 86-87) and Wynnere and Wastoure here recall the conversion of Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10).

(93) The Old Man in the prologue to Hoccleve's Regiment of Princes explains that the rich man's "nygardie / Suffrith hys neghtburgh by hym sterue & dye, / Rathir pan with a ferthyng hym releeue" (1306-8) and that "Whoso moost hath, he moost of schal answere" (1310). In one of his ironic per antiphrasim poems, Ryght as a Rammes Home, Lydgate writes that
 Pore folke pleyne hem for no nede,--
 These riche men dothe so grete almesse!
 Plente eke dothe the hungry fede,
 Clothe the naked & his wrecchednesse;
 And Charite is now a chief maistres;

 ... ryght as a rammes horn.
 (25-29, 32)

The Regiment of Princes cited from Hoccleve's Works, ed. Frederick J. Furnivall and Israel Gollancz, 3 vols., EETS e.s. 61, 72 [vol. 3], and 73 [vol. 2] (London: Oxford University Press, 1892-1924), vol. 3; Ryght as a Rammes Home from MacCracken, Minor Poems of John Lydgate, 2:462-63.

(94) No. 51 in Robbins, Historical Poems. See also the passage quoted above from Gentleness and Nobility; and Fasciculus Morum 4.6 (pp. 344-46), the section on "Treachery, Tricks, and Lies," which uses the merchant as its sole example.
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Author:Harper, Elizabeth; Mize, Britt
Publication:Comparative Drama
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Sep 22, 2006
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