Philip Roth confronts age and beauty,
and turns—well, not exactly
sentimental, but surprisingly warm.
Everyman takes its title from a medieval morality play, a nasty little allegory of what happens when the party ends. Called by Death, the central character is abandoned by his “false friends”—friends, family, wealth—and leans instead on Good Deeds, Strength, Beauty, Intelligence, and Knowledge. By play’s end, he is alone: All but Good Deeds have left him, and he must confront his grave with Christian humility. The world he has left behind is “drowned in synne,” as God complains in the play’s prologue, overflowing with “pryde coueteyse wrathe and lechery.”