Hypothetically speaking, you have to choose between spending the rest of your life in solitary confinement or death. Which do you choose? Anton Chekhov presents the pros and cons of both options in his short story, The Bet.
In this story, two men make a bet, both staking rather important things. The banker stakes his millions while the lawyer stakes his freedom. This is done to determine whether death or solitary confinement is more humane.
At the commencement of the story, the banker has money and the lawyer wants money. This, of course, is why both of them agreed to the bet. But, by the end of the story, the banker (who's lost his millions gambling in the stock market) has no money and the lawyer (who's been reading for fifteen years and has seen what a horrible people we are) doesn't want the money.
Both men learn important personal lessons in this story but the ending is still very ambiguous. We learn that the theory that you want what you don't have is very true. But, we also learn that things like money shouldn't be taken as seriously as they usually are; that there are more important things in life.