Essay PreviewMore ↓
In the short story “The Bet” by Anton Chekhov a wager is made that changes the lives of two people. The story begins with a heated argument at a party over which is more moral, capital punishment or life imprisonment. The host of the party, the banker, believes that capital punishment is more moral because the death sentence kills the victim quicker rather than dragging out the process. A twenty-five year old lawyer at the party responds, saying, he would choose the life sentence to be more moral because any life is better than no life at all. Hearing this response causes the banker to bet the lawyer two million dollars that the lawyer can not last five years in solitary confinement. The lawyer accepts the wager, but pushes it to fifteen years in hopes of making a point. The terms of the wager are that the lawyer is to live in solitary confinement without any human interaction for fifteen years, but is granted any books, music, wine, etc. that he wants. As the fifteen years pass, the lawyer discovers the significance of human life. Anton Chekhov’s “The Bet” emphasizes the idea that the life of a human is far more valuable than money.
The perceived value of money is misconstrued by numerous people. As illustrated in the story, people can look too highly upon money. The banker praises his money and enjoys his wealth deeply, but by the end of the story, the investor luck has changed. Having lost his fortunes, he believes his only chance of surviving in the world is if he holds onto as much money as he can. This desperation causes the banker to fret over the day he has to pay the lawyer two million dollars. The banker absolutely opposes giving up his money; therefore, the banker is willing to kill the lawyer so that the contract is void. This plan shows the banker valued his money above everything else, even another human.
In real life, many people believe that once they have money can answer problems. They might inherit a large sum of money and then feel as though they never need to work again. Little do they know that there is more to life than money. Moreover, complete satisfaction and life’s answers can not come from money alone. Joy and satisfaction come from the priceless moments in life such as the birth of a child.
How to Cite this Page
"The Value of Human Life in The Bet by Anton Chekhov." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Jan 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- When going through a traumatic or devastating experience, one has a possibility of experiencing the five stages of grief. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. People go through these for a variety of reasons. In “The Bet” by Anton Chekhov, a lawyer is part of a bet in which he must stay without human contact for fifteen years. The lawyer has difficulty coping without human contact. As a result, throughout his fifteen years of isolation, the lawyer goes through the five stages of grief.... [tags: Meaning of life, Life, Human, Kübler-Ross model]
1256 words (3.6 pages)
- Nihilists are people who have adopted a variety of negative philosophical beliefs and political views, often times to the extreme. Originating from the Latin word meaning Nothing, Nihilist tend to believe that is no point to our existence, and extremist some even argue that our existence isn’t real (Nathanson).This form of thinking may appeal and encompass the way a lot of people might feel, but the concept really limits one’s full enjoyment of life. While we all are living with a very limited amount of time, microscopic in the big picture, the impact one can make in that time is tremendous.... [tags: Life, Death, Edgar Allan Poe]
1398 words (4 pages)
- “Love, friendship and respect do not unite people as much as a common hatred for something.” These are famous words from Russian author, Anton Chekhov. Chekhov was a very pertinent writer during the Victorian Era. Born in 1860, he started writing during a critical time for authors of his kind - those that focused on the most practical details of actual human life through writing, the people who expressed their realistic outlooks on the world as they knew it without holding back. During this time, realism was a writing style that didn’t appear often - it was essentially taboo to write in such a way.... [tags: Literature, Writing, Victorian era, Anton Chekhov]
1170 words (3.3 pages)
- ... As a result, he let a young, naïve man, the lawyer, spend fifteen years in solitary confinement. The banker was so sure that he would win that he was willing to bet a fortune on it and when it came time to lose his money, he couldn’t. The author conveyed the banker as a person who couldn’t change via his use of characterization through dialogue. Through Chekhov’s use of the banker’s words the reader could infer the he was frozen in his avarice. It was only the beginning of his life when the banker made the bet but the author portrayed his character in such a way that the reader could deduce that he would never change.... [tags: greed through characterization]
677 words (1.9 pages)
- Love is essential to human beings, however at times it fails to surpass certain limits due to a complex reality. In the story; “The Lady with the Dog” by Anton Chekhov, the syntax, tone, and diction all collaborate in order to portray the complications of overcoming temptations. Dmitri Gurov is a banker from Moscow who is fascinated by the appearance of a woman who happens to be walking alone, along the sea of Yalta. Gurov is a married man who also happens to have kids but unfortunately, he despises his wife whom he characterizes as ignorant (Chekhov, 166).... [tags: Marriage, Love, Affair, Anton Chekhov]
1437 words (4.1 pages)
- The story “The Lady with the Dog”, by Anton Chekhov describes the secret love affair between Anna Sergeyevna and Dmitri Gurov, who were both to other individuals. Gurov is a banker in Moscow who was married at a young age, and never truly loved his wife. Thus, he had been unfaithful to her for a long time. While Anna, who lived in S--- also felt that her marriage was a mistake, but was faithful until she arrived at Yalta. “They believed that faith had brought them together, and so they could not fathom why they were both married to different indviduals; and it was as though they were a pair of birds of passage, caught and forced to live in different cages.” (Chekhov, 270).... [tags: Marriage, Love, Morality, Anton Chekhov]
1001 words (2.9 pages)
- "The Lady with the Dog" by Anton Chekhov was a marvelous story that expresses that love can come out of nowhere. The mood of the story in the beginning was simply just a man casually looking for an affair, and he would prey on women who are just traveling out of their city’s passing by on the streets of Yalta. The mood changes from the beginning from Dmitri, the main male character, just wanting a random hook up, to him falling madly in love with this lady that came to his city with her dog at the end.... [tags: Love, Anton Chekhov, Marriage, Wife]
887 words (2.5 pages)
- There is a dread disease. . .which medicine never cured, wealth never warded off or poverty could boast exemption from; which sometimes moves in giant strides and sometimes at a tardy sluggish pace, but, slow or quick, is ever sure and certain. (Dormandy 92) The above quote could apply to a plethora of illnesses that exist now or, have existed over the course of history. However, the scourge that the quoted material refers to is the disease formerly known as 'consumption' and now called by its medical name: Tuberculosis. The disease was rampant during the Victorian era in both America and Europe and still runs roughshod over many countries today. In fact, "the magnitude... [tags: Anton Chekhov Essays]
2221 words (6.3 pages)
- Anton Chekhov was a man and author who overcame many obstacles during the course of his life. His contributions to literature were immense, but it came only through hard work and many failed attempts that he became the great author he is known as today. He was the poster-boy for art mimicking life. What Chekhov experienced and learned through his past was revealed through his writing. This was especially true for his plays, in particularly The Cherry Orchard. Anton Chekhov was born on January 17, 1860, in Taganrog, Russia.... [tags: Anton Chekhov Biography]
601 words (1.7 pages)
- March 10, 1917. Bolshevik revolutionaries boldly stormed the palace of Nicholous I in Moscow ending his reign and an era in Russian civilization with it. A pattern of destruction and upheaval of the old establishment followed with the systematic elimination of all properties, belongings, records and archives connected with the upper classes and aristocracy. Amid this time of revolutionary purification, a vast number of great Russian writers and artists were dragged from the ranks of nobility. But one, Anton Chekhov, was the exception.... [tags: Anton Chekhov Biography]
1394 words (4 pages)
At the beginning of the story the lawyer is being greedy when he accepts the bet with the banker. This acceptation is a foolish act by the lawyer because he falsely believes due to greed that the value of the money won in the bet will compensate for 15 years of imprisonment. The imprisonment later proves not to be worth the money as the lawyer breaks the contract in order to disqualify himself from receiving the money. Many people in real life are constantly looking to make more and more money. Businessmen who live at their work can not see beyond the dollar signs. They will work around the clock in hopes of making more money. Greed can control their mind until all they have left is money. Once that brainwash occurs, money does not look as valuable as it did.
The value of a human life is immeasurable. As exemplified in the story, human life outweighs the value of money. The lawyer demonstrates his understanding that the value of human life is greater than the value of money when he contemplates whether or not he should accept the two million dollars upon completing the fifteen year imprisonment (gerund). This understanding shows in his letter and his act of leaving the imprisonment early. The lawyer only wants his life back when he gets out (adverb clause). It does not matter to him if he has the money because he knows that the money will not make him a better person if he accepts it; instead, it simply will only make him richer.
In the real world, many people after prison or being away from family and friends for a long time only wish to return to their lives with their families. What they missed while they were gone was not the money that they had acquired but the relationships and feelings that came with their life. The money they had was just a bonus. Ask one sensible father to pick between two million dollars or his son - there is no question the father would pick his son. There is no dollar amount for a human because money can be replaced, but a life can not be replaced. This preference for human interaction before money shows that the value of a human is greater than that of money. Furthermore, human life outweighs materialistic values like books and music. With the bet that the lawyer makes, he is granted the ability to have anything in his cell that he wants except human communication. The lawyer has numerous books brought to him with which he teaches himself foreign languages, philosophy, and history. He even teaches himself to play the piano. Despite these materials accompanying him during confinement, the lawyer suffers. He has no life or human interaction, causing him to feel alone and depressed. This is very similar to when I moved into the Bloomington/Normal area.
When I left my previous town, Springfield, I had to leave all my friends behind, but I was able to bring all my items with me to my new house. These items, however, did not create much comfort for me. I only wanted to make friends and be social. This drastic change in my lifestyle affected me to a point that I felt lost and unaware of what to do. As I made friends, my mood and overall life improved. This change caused from moving cities illustrates that the power of human life is more valuable than the value of material items.
In Chekhov’s “The Bet”, human life shows to be more valuable than money. As the story progresses, the lawyer recognizes that money is put on a pedestal through greed. He spends fifteen years in prison without a life but leaves knowing that money and material items mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. While imprisoned the lawyer has every material item he wants, and he grows very wise and talented. This wisdom and talent is worthless to him, however, since he has no life. The lawyer reaches the conclusion that the only thing that should be of value in this world is human life.