Segments in this Video

The Summoning of Everyman: God Criticizes Mankind (03:27)


Scenes i and ii: The messenger calls the audience to pay attention to the purpose of the play. God looks down upon the people in the world and criticizes their lechery, greed, and blindness to their salvation.

Death Approaches Everyman (03:09)

Scene iii-v: Death promises God that he will go onto the earth and will "cruelly outsearch both great and small." Death finds Everyman, a man on the road, and tells him he is there for his reckoning. Everyman attempts to bribe Death.

Prepare for the Day of Reckoning (02:20)

Death forces Everyman to go to his reckoning with God. Everyman wants to come back to Earth after the reckoning. He asks if a friend can accompany him. Death reminds Everyman that everything is only lent to humans.

Mankind Faces Death Alone (04:56)

Everyman meets a fellow (Fellowship) on the path. Everyman tells Fellowship that he has been summoned by Death to make a reckoning with God. Fellowship goes back on his word to help and refuses to accompany Everyman.

Friends Abandon Everyman in Times of Need (02:09)

Fellowship refuses to wait for Death with Everyman. Everyman learns that friends are faithful during times of prosperity, but are unkind when adversity strikes.

Family Forsakes Everyman (03:35)

Deserted by friends, Everyman approaches his family to help him to make his reckoning to God.

Good Cannot Save Everyman (03:45)

Scene vii, viii: Forsaken by family, Everyman ponders his fate. He talks with Good, who refuses to accompany him to his reckoning.

Good Deeds Forsake Everyman (04:07)

Scene ix and x: Everyman reviews all that has forsaken him as he approaches his reckoning with God. He finds his Good Deeds cold in the ground. Good Deeds gives her sister, Knowledge, to go on Everyman's journey with him.

Knowledge, Penance, and Mercy (03:56)

Scenes xi-xii: Everyman asks Knowledge about Confession. He kneels before Confession, who gives him penance and offers the company of Knowledge on his way to his reckoning. Everyman prays to God and Mary for mercy.

Penance and Forgiveness (04:05)

Everyman asks God for mercy and repents his sins. Good Deeds rises and walks towards Everyman, whom she will now accompany on his pilgrimage. Everyman calls forth Discretion, Strength, and beauty, as well as his five wits.

Charity and Sacraments (03:16)

Everyman learns that he must go to a priest and honor the seven sacraments. Good Deeds and Five Wits discuss the strengths and weaknesses of priests.

Strength and Beauty Do Not Die (03:24)

Having received the sacraments, Everyman proceeds on his journey in the company of Strength, Discretion, Knowledge, Good Deeds, Five Wits, and Beauty. At the edge of the grave, Strength and Beauty desert Everyman.

Good Deeds and Knowledge Remain With Everyman (02:55)

Discretion follows Strength away from the grave, where Everyman begins to understand that he can take nothing with him when he dies.

Death and Salvation of Everyman (01:48)

In the company of Knowledge and Good Deeds, Everyman commits his spirit into the hands of the Lord. An angel receives him into Heaven.

Moral Lesson of "The Summoning of Everyman" (01:46)

The moral of "The Summoning of Everyman" warns humans to reject pride during life. At death, beauty, wits, strength, and discretion will forsake. Humans must be ready for their reckoning, and only then will they be taken to the highest places in Heaven.

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The Summoning of Everyman

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



When Death comes to take Everyman to his final judgment, Everyman attempts to bribe Death—and when that fails, Everyman instead tries to find a companion to accompany him on the fearful journey. In this adaptation of The Summoning of Everyman by Douglas Morse, a cast of classically trained actors, period music, opulent costumes, and captivating cinematography breathe new life into an enduring 15th-century morality play. A bittersweet story of the human condition, performed with moving earnestness. A commendable resource for courses in medieval studies, drama, and literature. (53 minutes)

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL39549

ISBN: 978-1-60467-389-0

Copyright date: ©2008

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“It’s excellent to see this great classic of human mortality brought back to life with such commitment.” —Helen Cooper, Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English, University of Cambridge


“This is the most impressive film I have seen of a pre-Shakespearean drama in English.  It not only illustrates an important moment in the history of Western theatre, but also — like the play it puts in motion — stages a breathtaking story of life and death.  The cast, performances, cinematography, and locations are superb. The Summoning of Everyman is a gift to the serious student of drama, and a must-see for anyone interested in Shakespeare and the early modern theatre. Even after five centuries, Everyman’s struggle to accept the fact of his own death remains uncanny in its power to move us.” —Douglas Bruster, Professor of English, The University of Texas at Austin, and co-editor with Eric Rasmussen of “Mankind” and “Everyman” for the Arden Early Modern Drama series


“This film beautifully captures the essence of The Summoning of Everyman. Teachers of early drama will be grateful for the way the film serves the text and evokes the play's time and religious culture. All viewers will appreciate Paul Barry’s moving portrayal of the central character’s plight.” —Harry Keyishian, Shakespeare Bulletin, The Johns Hopkins University Press

Performance Rights

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Not available to Home Video customers.