Analysis of the Bet

Decent Essays
Choices in Life
“The death sentence and the life sentence are equally immoral, but if I had to choose between the death penalty and imprisonment for life I would certainly choose the second. To live anyhow is better than not at all” (Chekhov 1). In Anton Chekhov’s short story “The Bet” a lawyer and a banker make a bet about which penalty is more humane. The lawyer says that life imprisonment is more humane. In saying this, the lawyer bets he can stayed locked up in a cell for 15 years without any human contact and it will show it’s more humane. In the short story “The Bet” by Anton Chekhov; the lawyer encounters many types of conflicts including man vs. man, man vs. self, and man vs. nature.
The lawyer encounters man vs. man conflict in
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The lawyer is wishing he wouldn’t have made the bet but won’t give it up because of his pride and the money. Pride is very important to greedy people because then the person doesn’t feel like anyone’s better than them. “In the course of four years some six hundred volumes were procured at his request” (Chekhov 3). The lawyer is hard at work keeping him entertained and educated while locked in solitary confinement. In these six hundred volumes he learned six languages and read many other novels. Man vs. self is a conflict very difficult to go through. The lawyer got something out of his bet with the banker. He got knowledge.
A third conflict the lawyer goes through is man vs. nature. “He was a skeleton with the skin drawn tight over his bones with long curls like a woman’s and a shaggy beard. His face was yellow with an earthy tint in it, his cheeks were hollow, his back long and narrow, and the hand on his shaggy head was propped so thin and delicate that it was dreadful to look at”(Chekhov 6). After all those years in solitary confinement the lawyer’s body was wearing away. He had no one to talk to and no way to clean up. “His hair was already streaked with silver, and his emaciated aged – looking face, no one would have believed that he was only forty” (Chekhov 6). When the banker and the lawyer made the bet the lawyer was only twenty five and a handsome young man. After the fifteen years the lawyer looks like he could be older than 60 when he is only forty.
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