Comparing Everyman and The Second Shepherds' Play

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Everyman and The Second Shepherds' Play remind the audience that good deeds are necessary for redemption, however, they reinforce the idea that we must shun material concerns to be redeemed. Both plays seek to reinforce these aspects of redemption to insure that all may be redeemed. The world is imperfect, and the only way we can make ourselves perfect and worthy of redemption is by not worrying about our material well being and performing good deeds. It is by disregarding our material concerns that allow us to perform good deeds.

Everyman places his faith in material things, his friends, relatives and goods. These material things do him no good. Fellowship claims he "will not forsake thee to my life's end" (Everyman 213), yet when Everyman asks Fellowship to accompany him on his journey for redemption and ultimately death he "will not go that loath journey- / Not for the father that begat me!" (Everyman 268-269). By placing his faith in man rather than God, he does not receive "any more comfort" (Everyman 304). The same discouragement greets Everyman after his talks with Cousin and Kindred. Kindred claims that they "will live and die togither" (Everyman 324), but abandons him soon after making this statement. After Kindred and Cousin leave him, Everyman realizes that "fair promises men to me make, / but when I have most need they me forsake" (Everyman 370-371). Since man will not help him, he turns to goods. Everyman realizes that the goods he has loved his whole life "to thy soul is a thief" (Everyman 447), they do nothing but hinder his eternal happiness. His reliance on people and goods has left Everyman's soul in a precarious condition.

The shepherd's lives are similar to Everyman's, because they too devote their time to worldly concerns. By fixating on their material well being, they follow the same path as Everyman, the path away from salvation. At the beginning of The Second Shepherds' Play all three shepherds, Coll, Gib, and Daw, seek to relieve their pain by complaining. Their complaints are many, and justified, yet they accomplish nothing. Although Coll thinks that

It does me good, as I walk

Thus by mine one,

Of this world for to talk

In manner of moan. ( Shepherds' Lines 66-69)

He really does not get any closer to redemption by doing this, although it may ease part of his emotional burden, his spiritual failings remain.

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