The play won the first prize in the Rederijker contest in Antwerp in 1485. As a morality play, it stresses the didactic message. It uses allegory of the hero as an "everyman" (a typical human person) and is written in moderately elevated Rederijker style.
Dutch and English historians argued for decades over whether the English play Everyman was based on Elckerlijc (or vice versa). The most convincing evidence that Elckerlijc was the original was provided by the English historian E.R. Tigg, who showed how many rhymes and literal translations were copied from the Dutch play into the English Everyman. On the other hand it is perfectly credible that an English translator should have added a rhyming tag to each of a pair of words that rhyme in Dutch but not in English. In the end although there is no irrefutable factual proof, based on the balance of evidence it is generally agreed the Dutch is the original.