Everyman, late-15th-century English morality play. It is the counterpart of the Dutch play Elckerlijk; which of these anonymous plays is the original has been the subject of controversy. When Everyman is summoned by Death, he can persuade none of his friends—Beauty, Kindred, Worldly Goods—to go with him, except Good Deeds. This allegory has been used as the basis of plays by later writers and has remained popular in modern times.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.