Whose Life Is It Anyway

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In ‘Whose Life Is It Anyway?' Clark has formulated two distinctive characters – Ken Harrison and Dr. Emerson – to base his play centred around the issue of euthanasia. Ken Harrison, who is a patient, paralysed quadraplegically, makes a plea for the freedom to decide his own destiny. This becomes obvious as his perspective is presented strongly, and to a greater extent, reflecting his background, his former livelihood as a scultor, and his experience in life. The composer utilises powerful language and eloquent analogies to represent Ken's feelings and viewpoint on his own future: "For me life is over, I want it recognised because I can't do the things that I want to do, that means I can't say the things that I want to say" which provided an explanation as to why he feels the need to end his undignified life; while making a comparison between the "vegetable" and his long-term paralysis as the key reason for his passionate fight for his artistic integrity, morality and freedom.

Dr Emerson on the other hand, disagrees with Ken. He strongly believes that life is precious and he must do everything in his power to preserve it. With thirty years of experience behind him as a physician, he exhibits his knowledge through the use of medical jargon such as "valium" and "dialysis". He articulates that his "qualified opinion" and "objective decision" are more valid and superior and therefore, restricts Ken's desire to decide his own fate as "he cannot know enough to challenge our clinical decision". The composer employs fluent language for both characters to present their unique perspectives, which make this text one of the most powerful pieces of evidence to demonstrate that experience is reflected through the way composers present different viewpoints.
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