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In literature and drama, the term everyman has come to mean an ordinary individual, with whom the audience or reader is supposed to be able to identify easily, and who is often placed in extraordinary circumstances. The name derives from a 15th century English morality play called Everyman.
The contemporary everyman differs greatly from his (or her) medieval counterpart in many respects. While the medieval everyman was devoid of definite marks of individuality in order to create a universality in the moral message of the play, the contemporary storyteller may use an everyman for amoral, immoral, or demonstrative purposes.
The everyman character is constructed so that the audience can imagine itself in the same situation without having to possess knowledge, skills, or abilities that transcend human potential. Such characters react realistically in situations that are often taken for granted with traditional heroes.
Alternatively, an everyman occupies the role of protagonist without being a "hero" and without necessarily being a round character or a dynamic character. In this scenario, the everyman is developed like a secondary character, but the character's near omnipresence within the narrative shifts the focus from character development to events and story lines surrounding the character. Some audiences or readers may project themselves into this character, if no dominant characteristic of the everyman prevents them from doing so. Others may ignore the character and concentrate on the story arc, the visual imagery, the irony or satire, and any other aspect of the story which the orchestrator(s) of the story have focused upon or, indeed, whatever personally interests the reader.
The most familiar example of an everyman character is Christian, the protagonist of The Pilgrim's Progress. Other figures often characterized as everymen include:
See also 
- ^ "WordNet Search - 3.0". Princeton University. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
- ^ a b "Everyman - Definition and More From the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
- ^ Prickett, Stephen (2008). "Scriptural Interpretation in the English Literary Tradition". In Magne Saebo. Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation. II (from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. p. 934.
- ^ Gharraie, Jonathan (June 27, 2011). "Around Bloom in a Day". Paris Review. Retrieved 2013-04-07. "Leopold Bloom, the Jewish everyman"
- ^ Jones, Brian; Hamilton, Geoff (2009). Encyclopedia of American Popular Fiction. New York: Infobase Publishing. p. 153.
- ^ "The Walking Dead Cast: Rick Grimes". amctv.com. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- ^ Ryan McKee. "Top 10: Everyman Heroes - No.9 Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead". Askmen.com. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- ^ Scott Tipton (2010-11-10). "Talking About Walking". Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- ^ "The Office: Co-Workers You'd Love to Have - Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), 'The Office' Occupation: Sales representative". TV.MSN.com.
- ^ "Character Guide: Stan Marsh". SouthParkStudios.com. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
- ^ Ball, Chris (26 September 2009). "New on DVD: 'Shrink,' 'Management,' 'The Patty Duke Show' and more".
- ^ Adkins, Leslie (13 May 2009). "AS SEEN ON: My new addiction: 'How I Met Your Mother'".
- ^ Rodden, John (2007). The Cambridge Companion to George Orwell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 9.
- ^ Cohan, Steven (1997). Masked Men: Masculinity and the Movies in the Fifties. Indiana University Press. p. 20.
- ^ "Rhys Williams". BBC Torchwood: Children of Earth official site. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
- ^ Smith, Gavin (Sep/Oct 1999). "Inside Out: Gavin Smith Goes One-on-One with David Fincher". Film Comment 35 (5): 64.
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