Whose Life Is It Anyway

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How Does Brian Clarke Use Ken’s Situation To Provoke Both Sympathy And Humour In ‘Whose Life Is It Anyway?’

The book has been written by Brian Clarke not only to entertain readers, but to also make a statement about euthanasia. Euthanasia is defined as an ‘easy death’, however after reading the play ‘Whose Life Is It Anyway’, readers start to get an idea of what a struggle it is, not only to have the courage to end your own life, but to persuade others around you that it is the right decision, especially someone in Ken’s situation. He is paralysed from the neck which means he cannot kill himself and must be aided to do so.

Euthanasia is at present illegal in the United Kingdom where the play is set. In addition, the Christian religion views suicide as a sin, no matter what the situation. However in recent years, an increasing number of people have argued their own cases to end their lives. Few have been allowed. This is play is about one such person, Ken, who argues his case before the Judge and does so successfully which sets a precedent and sends a powerful message to the reader.

In the first few pages of the script the reader is not directly informed of Ken’s ‘situation’, however there is a lot of dark humour and sexual innuendoes that hint what is wrong with him. ‘Hello, I’m afraid I cant offer you’re my hand’, ‘A mate of mine smuggled me out …. we went midnight skateboarding, the only problem was I was the skateboard’. Already the audience understands Ken’s situation and have been made uncomfortable by the black humour he uses, either he is trying to ease the tension between himself and the nurse, or he is looking for some attention, some sympathy perhaps. This kind of black humour is constantly used by Ken in the script and it makes the audience question if he has come to accept his disbility or he is actually rotting away inside and using humour to hide his sadness.

Ken will be living a life of chastity from now on and so he creates a lot of...
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