Origin and history edit
The term everyman was used as early as an English morality play from the early 1500s: The Summoning of Everyman. The play's protagonist is an allegorical character representing an ordinary human who knows he is soon to die; according to literature scholar Harry Keyishian he is portrayed as "prosperous, gregarious, [and] attractive". Everyman is the only human character of the play; the others are embodied ideas such as Fellowship, who "symbolizes the transience and limitations of human friendship".
The use of the term everyman to refer generically to a portrayal of an ordinary or typical person dates to the early 20th century. The term everywoman originates in the same period, having been used by George Bernard Shaw to describe the character Ann Whitefield of his play Man and Superman.
Narrative uses edit
An everyman is described with the intent that most audience members can readily identify with him. Although the everyman may face the same difficulties that a hero might, archetypal heroes react rapidly and vigorously by manifest action, whereas an everyman typically avoids engagement or reacts ambivalently, until the situation, growing dire, demands effective reaction to avert disaster. Such a "round", dynamic character—that is, a character showing complexity and development—is generally a protagonist.
Or if lacking complexity and development—thus a "flat", static character—then the everyman is a secondary character. Especially in literature, there is often a narrator, as the written medium enables extensive explication of, for example, previous events, internal details, and mental content. An everyman narrator may be noticed little, whether by other characters or sometimes even by the reader. A narrating everyman, like Ché in the musical Evita, may even address the audience directly.
List of examples edit
- The anonymous "Common Man" of Robert Bolt's play A Man for All Seasons (1960).
- Leopold Bloom of James Joyce's novel Ulysses (serialized 1918–1920, published in its entirety in 1922)
- The anonymous narrator of Chuck Palahniuk's novel Fight Club (1996) and its movie adaptation (1999)
- C.C. "Bud" Baxter of Billy Wilder's movie The Apartment (1960).
- Emmet Brickowski of The Lego Movie
- Charlie Brown of Charles Schulz's comic strip Peanuts.
- Ché in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Evita
- Christian of John Bunyan's book The Pilgrim's Progress (1678).
- Norman Dale of the film Hoosiers.
- Arthur Dent of Douglas Adams' novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy novels
- James Gordon in DC Comics.
- Jim Halpert in the television series The Office.
- Jonathan Harker of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula (1897).
- George Jetson of the cartoon television series The Jetsons.
- Will Kane of Fred Zinnemann's movie High Noon (1952).
- Jacob Kowalski of J. K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them books and movies.
- Stan Marsh of the cartoon television series South Park.
- Joe Martin of the television series All My Children.
- Marty McFly of the movie Back to the Future.
- Ted Mosby of the television series How I Met Your Mother.
- Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy's book and film series known as the Ryanverse
- Winston Smith in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
- Kevin Arnold in The Wonder Years
- Egbert Souse in Edward F. Cline's film The Bank Dick (1940)
See also edit
- Average Joe – wholly average person
- Commoner – person neither nobility, royalty, nor priesthood
- Elckerlijc – Dutch medieval morality play
- Everyman's right – freedom to roam
- Joe Bloggs - British generic average man
- John Doe - generic everyman used in English-speaking countries
- John Q. Public – generic, hypothetical "common man"
- Kafkaesque – everyman being overwhelmed by vast, dehumanizing social labyrinth
- Man on the Bondi tram – hypothetical reasonable Australian
- Person having ordinary skill in the art
- Reasonable person – term helping a jury interpret a law's wording
- Straight man
- T.C. Mits – acronym for "the celebrated man in the street"
- The man on the Clapham omnibus – hypothetical reasonable person
- Zé Povinho – Portuguese everyman
- King, Susan (April 29, 2001). "Back When Decency Was Glamorous". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
- Murrin, John M.; Johnson, Paul E.; McPherson, James M.; Fahs, Alice; Gerstle, Gary (2011). Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, Volume 2: Since 1863. Cengage Learning. p. 764. ISBN 9781133171867.
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- Pickett, Howard (August 2012). "Theatrical Samaritans: Performing Others in Luke 10:25-37". The Journal of Scriptural Reasoning. 11 (1). Retrieved April 14, 2020.
- Harry Keyishian, "Review of Douglas Morse, dir.,The Summoning of Everyman (Grandfather Films, 2007)", Shakespeare Bulletin (Johns Hopkins U P), 2008 Fall;26(3):45–48.
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- collinsdictionary.com: everywoman, backup
- ""Everywoman, n."". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved October 26, 2021.
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