This is a medieval morality play, of unknown date, authorship, and origin. It is thought to date from the end of the fifteenth century, but may have had origins far earlier than this. (The more usual form of the morality play was a contest between the Virtues and Vices [personified, of course] for the soul of a man.) this play is an allegory where the Eternal Verities (GOD, Death and Good-Deeds) are set in contrast with the ordinary circumstances, gifts, occupations, companions, and preoccupations of the average man's life -- hence , Everyman, or as the play calls itself, The Summoning of Everyman.
As we read and discuss this play, we must keep inmind that it was meant for a primarily illiterate and uneducated audience, showing the way to Heaven through the blessing and intervention of the Church (which in that time and place meant, of course, the Roman Catholic Church), through Her representative (and GOD's), the Priest. It detailed the necessity of true contrition, confession, absolution, penance, and, finally, Extreme Unction (the sacrament for the dying) at the time of death. An objection is brought upconcerning lewd, lascivious, and venal priests, but this is dismissed as their sin and not and objection to the priest's power to bind and loose on Earth and in Heaven even sins and wrongdoings.
In the beginning of the play, after a short prologue, GOD is angry with mankind for his evildoing and lack of repentance; He determines to summon him toaccount and so sends Death to tell him his time has come--the day of his death and judgment.
Everyman tries to persuade and then to bribe Death to relent, but Death is adamant. He says he could have the hold world if he could be bribed, but he can't be, as he obeys only GOD. He gives Everyman until the end of the day to prepare himself and leaves.
Everyman goes off to find someone to go with hime on his journey -- he asks Fellowship (his friends) and his Kinsmen and Cousin. All profess undying love and loyalty -- and then refuse. He entreats Goods (his wealth), who refuses, saying that he, Goods, is a cause of his sinfulness, as he was not shared with the poor. Good Deeds asks knowledge to help him; she takes him to the Priest for the sacraments and then Good-Deeds rises up, unbound by his sinfulness, and accompanies him to the end (and eventually, to Heaven). Beauty, Strength, Five-Wits (senses) and Knowledge all accompany him to the edge of the grave, but only Good-Deeds can go with him in the end.