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The everyman is the average man who is pushed into a mission he initially isn’t comfortable partaking in, or isn’t qualified for; and eventually becomes the hero at the end of the story, or at least plays a major role in the plot. The everyman may be portrayed as a normal person in terms of occupation or status, but he may be portrayed as more sociable and handsome, and perhaps more prosperous. The same concept applies to women with the phrase “everywoman” being employed.
The everyman character is relatable, portrayed in such a manner that audience members can put themselves into his shoes. He is rather passive, not having the desire to be a hero. He will try to avoid problems and show little concern when confronted by outside factors, until they become too large to ignore. The everyman will eventually react aggressively to issues when his safety, livelihood or perception of reality is severely threatened or challenged. At this point, the everyman will start adopting heroic traits, and leave the everyman role behind. He could potentially return to the everyman role when the threat is removed and the challenge overcome, or maintain his newfound role and traits, whether it be heroism or an increased social or political status, or new skills and abilities that set him apart from the average man.
The everyman may struggle with his emotions and his thoughts regarding the struggle he is confronted with. Depending on how much he has been affected, he may have a flat tone, an agitated tone, a sad tone or a fearful tone. When he finally deals with the issue, he will likely grow to have a more confident and optimistic tone, though he may not fully realise that shift. In terms of vernacular, the everyman will speak the language of the region he is in, and the accent, as not being a local would set him apart from the people around him. If he travels, he may speak in a foreign language or accent in comparison to the land he is visiting. The everyman also uses common speech, at an average level of vocabulary for his occupation and location.
The everyman can be seen in numerous different forms. The most extreme version of the everyman character is Emmett from the LEGO Movie, a character who is so average, his neighbours and coworkers cannot remember any defining characteristics about him. Another form of everyman would be Harry Potter, from the series of the same name. He starts his story as a normal child, unaware of his magical powers, and grows out of the everyman role when he realises his potential. An example of the everywoman, although not in immediate danger as a result of her change, would be Cinderella, who was a servant in an adoptive family before the fairy godmother gave her a new opportunity to live like a noble for a night. Watching movies and television shows with everyman characters in them, as well as acting like a normal person in the setting your character originates from, can help you act as an everyman yourself.