Epiphany at Death and the Road to Salvation
In Everyman and Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, the protagonists are faced with their judgment day and presented with an account of their lives. Everyman is a man wealthy materialistically, while Faustus is wealthy in arts such as logic, medicine, law, and divinity. Everyman represents the men in society who are fixed in their material lives and lose sight of Christ. He befriends men who abandon him while on a pilgrimage to Christ, learning that what he once valued, his wealth, is useless to him when he has to account for his lack of good deeds. Faustus unlimited intelligence, yet he is dissatisfied with his gift; he would prefer experiment ...view middle of the document...
When man faces death he suddenly comes to terms with his life, as if the time of death is the pivotal moment in one’s life, resulting in man reevaluating and redefining his life and pleading for chances previously exhausted by idolizing worldly possessions. The moment that man realizes that worldly materials do not descend to the grave, they are only left with themselves, then becoming helpless and at mercy to death:
It is the very helplessness that makes Everyman’s descent into the grave so poignant—and so victorious. It is the letting go of the self that we all fear the most. The recognition that there is nothing further to be done, that we have lost control that our solipsistic assumptions about our own importance are dissolving before our eyes. It is Nothing encroaching upon Everything. It is the end (Spinrad 84).
Everyman receives salvation, unlike Faustus who fails to realize that there is more to mortal life than his greedy quest for power.
Faustus voluntarily surrenders his soul to the devil, greedily seeking more than the knowledge that Christ has blessed him. His curiosity for Black Magic lands him a deal with the devil where he is damned because of his decision and failure to accept salvation from the good angel who tries to save him. In exchange for his powers he is ordered to never speak of Christ and he to surrender his soul so that a servant of the devil, Mephistopheles, could serve him. Throughout the text, Faustus rejects the good angel and as a result, he is damned. Salvation, as in Everyman, depends on one’s own choices. Faustus made the choice to continue his bargain with the devil and descends to hell, without the option of salvation; by then it is too late. When Everyman is sent on his pilgrimage, it portrays the road that man travels to discover that his value does not lie in his worldly wealth, but his good deeds and knowledge. Even then, knowledge does not follow Everyman to the grave. Everyman is remembered by his good deeds which ascend with him to heaven.
The stories portray an ever long battle between good and evil, even at the closing moments before Faustus’s damnation—the characters always battle between what is good and unacceptable. The Good and Evil Angel constantly approach Doctor Faustus, but he listens to the Good angel while also conflicting with his conscious that wants to be saved. His curiosity and greed wants to experience more power offered from the Devil. He becomes angry because he will be condemned to hell due to his decision, but he still chooses to pursue black magic quite aware of his actions. Just as man who commits sin, man is fully aware of the sins that he commits, yet he chooses to sin regardless of the consequences, because there is always that chance of salvation that is at our own disposal, just as the Good angel. Man, as Faustus, continues to disregard the Good angel, realizing the mistake a moment too...