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Everyman, a 15th-century play that follows the journey of an ordinary man who is reminded of his inevitable death, very similarly, in The Seventh Seal, a man by the name of Antonius Block who was a knight in the 14th century during the Bubonic plague is a also faced with death however it is reoccurring. Though these two works are very similar in meaning, they also differ from each other in many ways. In Everyman, an ordinary man approaches judgement day. This happens in a dialogue between him and Death to determine whether he is ready to die or not.

Everyman is not ready to die and he embarks on a journey to try and accomplish one last act of goodness so he will enter heaven. Similarly in The Seventh Seal, Antonius Block is visited by death as he is packing his things. He challenges Death to a game of chess and if he wins, death will leave him alone, however, if he loses, he must go with death. Throughout the story, each protagonist encounters others on their journeys who play a role in how they grow.

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Both Everyman and The Seventh Seal highlight the inevitability of death and how Antonius and everyman are just playing the game of life. Both characters understand that they are going to die however Antonius tries to prolong this by playing death in chess. One key element from The Seventh Seal was the ending scene which featured the dance macabre which is better known as the “Dance of Death”. It symbolizes how life is a game of chess with death. A wrong move could end it all and we are just playing day by day.

The imagery from the danse macabre comes from Bernt Notke’s fifteenth-century church painting which represents an allegory for death and is a reminder that death is inescapable regardless of your class. Everyman takes place during the Fall of Constantinople, the Great Fall, and the 100 years war which all encompass Christian Humanism. This was a time where writings about God increased and ideas of what occurs in the next life started growing. Morality is shown in this play as everyman determines that good deeds are his way into salvation.

The Seventh Seal is portrayed during the bubonic plague following the crusades. It highlights war, plague, and as a result of that, famine and death. Antonius believes he can outsmart death in the game of chess however death will undoubtedly come and it can take many forms. For example in the film, Antonius was confessing in a church and instead of a priest listening, which goes to show how death is everywhere. Nearing the end of the film when Block has finally accepted death, he knocks over all the pieces so Jof and Jof’s wife and kid can escape death.

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