On Everyman (was:Re: Mordion/Tess - Christian Imagery in Hexw ood (long))

McMullin, Elise emcmullin at kl.com
Wed Mar 15 11:12:40 EST 2000

	Melissa said:

	"It's been my contention for years that the *good* modern fantasy is
allegory for our time, and even though moralizing has gone out of style, I
don't think allegory ever will or should. "

	I like it.  It works for me.  Good allegory has the allegory sewn
into the seams - don't you think?  I remember reading The Faerie Queen and
just wincing at how heavy handed it seemed. And I thought the Roman de la
Rose was groan-worthy.  Of course, I also roll my eyes to contemplate Milton
setting up Paradise Lost so that the number of the page has meaning as to
what is going on with the story - like the Fall happens on some page with an
especially powerful, bad number.  Or so my prof informed us.  And then she
told us he became blind and he dictated the whole thing to his daughters.
Uh, can you imagine the writes and re-writes?  The moving things around to
the pages that have meaning in the numbers - oh horrible!  Milton's
daughters are unsung heroes, I think.

	"This would mean that I would have to re-read the original myself.
I think
> I'd rather eat a live toad."
	Ah, but I remember it because I took a class called Drama before
1800 at Edinburgh.  It made medieval lit actually very interesting because
we had saturday workshops in which we worked up the text of the morality
plays and presented scenes to each other.  Many of the plays threw in rude,
ignorant people for comic relief and we had much more fun playing crude
ruffians than we anticipated.

	But back to Everyman.  Everyman is nice but naive.  He falls in with
a parade of Bad Companions who introduce him to gaming, drink and various
vices.  He is brought low by them and then they dump him.  As Bessie Smith
sang, "Nobody knows you, when you down and out.  In my pockets, not one
penny.  And my friends, I haven't any."

	Then he is shown mercy and enlightened by god - I can't remember
what character comes along to tend to his education.  But it's not over yet.
Next he starts of, sadder but wiser, and determined to hew to the straight
and narrow.  This time he Falls again, but in wisdom.  I *think* the second
time he succumbs to despair.  This is the Bigger Fall, to fall despite
knowledge.  And the ending is that he is again shown mercy, which is to
prove the redeeming excellence of the love of god. And he is transfigured by
joy, um I think.

	So there ya are and it wasn't too painful, I hope.

	"When I get back on my feet again
	I'll find my long lost friends"
	-Bessie Smith, ready to cruise for another bruising.
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