Monday, August 19, 2019

Rituals in Everyman and Endgame :: Comparison

Comparing Rituals in Everyman and Endgame "Why do you do that?" "Do what?" "Make the symbol of the cross--you must be Catholic--I see them doing that all of the time." I was eager to know what my friend's response would be. "Yeah," she replied, "I am. It's holy, respect for Jesus and Mary. Sometimes we have to do it as penance after confession." Inquisitively I asked, "I don't get it. So you perform this ritual for different reasons? What are you trying to accomplish when you do it, get into Heaven or just avoid going to Hell? Or could it be that it's just to do the same thing Catholics have always done?" Rituals, no matter how major or minor they seem, can be found almost everywhere. Some are of a religious context, and some are not. Some are performed for specific reasons, and some are performed simply to avoid change. The presence of rituals and their importance are very evident in the plays Everyman, written by an anonymous writer, and Endgame, written by Samuel Beckett. Everyman tries to prepare for death and attain his ultimate goal of gaining entrance into heaven by changing his life through the ritualized acts of scourging himself and performing the seven blessed sacraments. In Endgame, Clov ritualistically looks out of the window to make sure that nothing has changed and that death, or anything else that may disrupt the character's repetitive cycle of life, is not on the "horizon." Hamm also resists change and attempts to avoid death by having Clov continually make sure that his chair is in the proper location so that death cannot find him in the wrong place and sneak up on h im. The rituals are very different, and the major contrast between those performed is that Everyman realizes that the coming of death is inevitable and he wants to do whatever necessary to prepare for it, but the characters in Endgame fear death, and rather than prepare for it, try to avoid it by resisting any change to their daily routines. Everyman does not resist death and even prepares for it by performing the religious rituals of the seven blessed sacraments and scourging himself. Through the performance of rituals Everyman is trying to attain the ultimate goal of reaching Heaven. He finds that the only character that will accompany him on his journey is Good Deeds, but she is weak. This represents the idea that he has not done enough good during his life and must now do something to change.

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