The Bet

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Analysis on The Bet by Anton Chekhov
This short story portrays a situation in which the banker and lawyer wages a bet based on the idea of the death penalty and life imprisonment. The banker puts on the line two million dollars compared to the lawyer's life worth of fifteen years. For the next fifteen years the lawyer was placed in the banker's backyard without the knowledge of the outside world. It was clear that any attempt on the lawyer's part to break the conditions will result in the lawyer's loss of the bet. Fifteen years later, the banker is near bankruptcy from gambling on the stock market. If he pays the lawyer for winning the bet, he will be ruined. His only escape from his tragedy would be to kill the lawyer. When the banker opens the door into the cell, he discovers the lawyer now looking like a skeleton. He discovers a letter and reads it, but soon realizes the lawyer plans to lose. Five hours before the lawyer's time is complete, he runs away and terminates his eligibility to win the bet. From these events in the story, I have concluded that it was the banker who won the bet and the argument of whether life imprisonment is better than death.

The bet has been argued to be many different aspects. It was stated in the story, “I'll bet you two millions you wouldn't stay in solitary confinement for five years” (1). Taking this idea as the bet, it was shown at the end of the story that the lawyer lost the bet. The rule was clearly stated, “The slightest attempt on his part to break the conditions, if only two minuets before the end, released the banker from the obligation to pay him two millions” (2). It was apparent that the rules were established, but violated. The lawyer stated, “I shall go out from here fire minutes before the time fixed, and so break the compact…Next morning…they had seen the man who lived in the lodge climb out of the window into the garden, go to the gate, and disappear” (5). It is clear that the lawyer's action was to forfeit...
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