English 231
Dr. Desmet
Winter 1997

Everyman and the Parable of the Talents

Death refers directly to the Parable of the Talents when he demands from Everyman his "reckoning" or account book (page 367 line 102-109). Everyman must tell God "how thou hast spent thy life and in what wise" (line 109).

The Parable of the Talents therefore refers to the metaphor "life is a precious possession." If you have many talents, you must "invest" them wisely--use them as you should use material goods, in a charitable way. If you have a few talents, you must invest them wisely as well. Even if you have only one talent, you must invest it wisely and do good in the world with that talent.

In an important way, the play Everymandemonstrates the ways in which a person who does have talents (Good Deeds that are trapped in the ground) wastes them, like the servant who buries his one talent in the ground and is cast into the dark, the "place of wailing and grinding of teeth." According to the play's allegory, what forces in everyday human life cause us to Everypersons to waste our talents?