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Roth Philip’s Book “Everyman”

In Roth Philip’s book “Everyman” the main character says, “old age isn’t a battle; old age is a massacre.” He says this majorly because; as it is evident his life has been one hell of a life. Everyman is deserted as he faces his death first by his friends, his family and then his wealth. This is followed by his strength, knowledge and beauty. What remains are just his good deeds. It is not a cheerful state of affairs; it is humiliating, dehumanizing, and therefore equivalent to a massacre. He is robbed of everything he was proud of. He has lived to see his friends die, has had three different wives, and his sons don’t like him any more because he abandoned their mother. So as his life flashes before him, the dying Everyman is deeply assaulted, mostly by the pain brought about by his divorces and by the unmissable sex thrill that caused them in the first place.

He feels that as a human being he deserved to be pardoned for whatever harm he might have caused to all, those he came across in his life so that he shouldn’t have to remain deranged almost all the time. When he reflects on how his life has been since he was a boy until now at seventy, he blames all his misfortunes on old age. He sees all his vigor, enthusiasm and zeal to have been eroded away by old age. He still clings to surges of desire the ones satisfied without trouble, but now because of his age girls do not give in to his advances, a neediness that he finds very pathetic (Roth, 2006).

We read from the book that Everyman, a man in his late 70s, one day encounters a girl jogging on the boardwalk near his retirement home. He stops and is delighted to discover that she was also in advertising and no strange to Everyman’s hoaxy games. She goes ahead to encourage provocatively Everyman’s Flirtatious advances.  He is engulfed with a sexual urge, he says, “And feeling, too, that sharp sense of individualization, of sublime singularity, that marks a fresh sexual encounter or love affair and that is the opposite of the deadening depersonalization of serious illness” (Metcalf 2006). But later on we learn that Everyman never sees the girl again, seemingly she changed her jogging route in order to avoid the flirtatious advances of an old man. Old age has made him a metronome of self pity and intrigue.  When his sons refuse to absolve him for cheating on their mother, he rants defensively. The rants show that he has nothing but a human stain.

This gives one the notion that elderly lechers are victims of a cruel world.  At the graveyard we see his few surviving buddies that he once worked with as a creative director listening out for a person they knew in the orations of those who knew him better. His wife, the one he left for the 24 year old Danish model, now paralyzed, recalls him only on their first holiday together, swimming across the bay full of life. His younger brother remembers him in his boyhood, full of dexterity and promise. But now he was old, helpless, a human stain. When all the mourners had gone Everyman faces not his maker but us the readers, and makes his case for absolution or sympathy. Judgment day is all in his hands, but all in his life he had not considered religion as anything of help to him, his plea bargaining therefore consists in just his humanity, and in his weakness, he does not claim to be any exceptional, he is just vulnerable, assailable and confused. When he looks at his life in a telescope, all he sees is a foreground full of illness and decay. That is what Everyman had become, he had lost his sexual vitality, his manly attractiveness to old age, it had robbed everything from him and therefore there was no better way to him, to describe old age, it was massacre (Roth, 2006).

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