Visual Analysis: Euthanasia

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Mercy Killing: If You Really Care.
Euthanasia has remained a heated debate among the pro-life and pro-choice community for several decades. Euthanasia is also known as assisted suicide as well as mercy killing. Those who support euthanasia argue that it allows a person to be put out of their misery; they believe that shortening a terminal patient’s pain and suffering is a final “act of mercy” (Medical News). Proponents of euthanasia allege that in the circumstance of having a terminally ill family member or friend, we should end their pain. Therefore, the “Euthanasia” image sends a panging feeling to the viewer’s conscience. The audience is left feeling uncomfortable, for the image leads them to feel liability for extending the pain of a terminally ill patient.

In today’s modern world, advancements in science have been made and diseases and illnesses that were once deemed incurable, now have a cure. A.A. Brill states, “it is quite impossible to say who is absolutely incurable” (Brill 166). He says this due to the fact that science and medicine have increased life expectancy and also due to the possibility that people could be misdiagnosed (166). The image and its use of the colors, black and white, help stress the incurability, helplessness, and hopelessness that is felt between a terminal patient and the loved one. The debate on euthanasia and how some factions believe it is a final “act of mercy” prompted the creation of the image (Medical News). The artist recognized the heated pro-life versus pro-choice debate, and picked a side based on either experience or research and focused his attention on the audience. Because it is an argument regarding life and death, the image’s caption warrants that it is morally wrong to let someone suffer. It is targeted to our emotional and moral standpoints. The audience could be someone who is pro-life or someone who believes that mercy killing can be justified. At the bottom of the image we see the poignant phrase “If...
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