"The Bet" is a short story that explores a moral theme regarding the value of human life. However, the story is constructed with an important ironic twist that brings the reader back to the original context of the bet (if the lawyer could endure solitary confinement for fifteen years), and presents an unexpected result. One can ultimately see that Anton Chekhov presents the readers with two different paths in the story. One of them is the banker, who refuses to face his own morality and the other is the lawyer (prisoner) who actually faces his own morality, but falls into despair because he is so disconnected from the outside world, even after gaining so much knowledge. These two characters may thrive on change, but they both alter their own human values in great ways.
The banker, a spoiled and pampered man, is very nervous and gets himself carried away by excitement at the time he makes a bet with the lawyer. This is shown when he says, "Fifteen! Done...Gentlemen, I stake two millions." Chekhov shows the reader that this not the impulsiveness of youth since he describes it as excitability, which he could not get over even in advancing years. Later in the story, Chekhov paints the portrait of a cowardly man who lacks the courage to endure reality. One day before the lawyer is to be granted his freedom, the banker becomes irritated and anxious, "The only escape from bankruptcy and disgrace--is that the man should die." At this point, the reader can trace the banker's path from boastfully making a foolish bet to being the one to give up all that he had staked, and conclude that his self-values have reached their all time low.
On the other hand, the lawyer, an older and wiser man, shows his dynamic characteristics as he changes dramatically in the course of the 15 year bet. The lawyer's character completely transforms from being an arrogant, young man, in to a feeble, cynical, yet more intelligent man. In the beginning of the story, he is presented to the reader by his boastful comments. The lawyer is even unwilling to back down from his opinion of the death penalty, so he bets fifteen years of his life on it. This is discovered, when he says, "If you mean it seriously, then I bet I'll stay not five but fifteen." This shows how strong this character really is. He not only says what he believes, but backs it up with actions. The continuing characteristic
The Bet Essay
"The Bet" By Anton Chekhov The debate among about life imprisonment virus's capital punishment has been fought long and hard. This argument takes place here in this story where two men are having a lively discussion about which is more humane, life imprisonment or capital punishment. The one who chooses life imprisonment is the lawyer. The banker is against this and chooses death. The banker is so sure that no one would lose their life to imprisonment rather then end it all quickly. The banker, so confident, makes the bet with the lawyer staking two million rubles that he couldn't sacrifice his freedom for his belief and stay confined by himself for fifteen years.
The banker being so confident thinks no one would lose fifteen years of his or her life for so much money. In the beginning the banker disagrees with the people who say that the death penalty is out of date. He tells them "capital punishment kills a man at once, but life long imprisonment kills him slowly." The banker feels that a quick death will relieve of the pain and he wouldn't have to live with what he has done for the rest of his life. The banker believes that losing ones life to imprisonment is frivolous and stupid. Money is nothing to him "two million's a trifle, but you are losing three or fours of the best years of your life." The banker is too rapped up in money to see that it isn't always the answer. The banker would rather be dead then be imprisoned and sees it as humane as possible. "Which is more humane, he who kills you in a few minutes or he who drags the life out of you in the course of many years?" The banker is caught up in his world of money and greed and sees if he has nothing life isn't worth living. He thinks it is better to not feel the pain at all then to become a better person from it.
The banker later in life changes his mind about the death penalty after losing his money and sees that he can live without money. The banker learns that money doesn't make up his life and that living confined doesn't help a man become better. "What is the good of a man losing fifteen years of his life and my throwing away two million?" one of the reasons the banker...
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