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The Issues of Euthanasia in Whose Life Is It Anyway?

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Caroline Piggott How Does Brian Clarke raise December 2000 The Issues of Euthanasia in Whose Life Is It Anyway? Brian Clarke raises the issues of Euthanasia in a play "Whose Life Is It Anyway?" He first raises it with a man who has a car accident and he has been paralysed from the neck down. His injuries are limiting and he will never recover from them. This character "Ken" does not want to die but wants to be discharged from the hospital, this will cause his death, as life outside the hospital for Ken would not be possible. He wants to be discharged from the hospital because he wants to feel free and die with dignity, but the doctor that is looking after him "Dr Emerson" is trying to save his life at all costs. Ken eventually takes his case through the courts and wins. The language and the structure of the play is moralistic as it tells the story of whether euthanasia should be legalised or not and what a difficult subject it is to discuss. It is descriptive and detailed in the medical sense, which makes the play more realistic. "He was suffering from a fractured left tibia and right tibia and fibia, a fractured pelvis, four fractured ribs, one of which had punctured the lung and dislocated the fourth vertebra, which had ruptured the spinal chord". The language from the medical staff towards Ken and others in the hospital is very professional and realistic. "What dose was it you prescribed?" "Two milligrams T.I.D". "That's very small. You might have to increase it to five milligrams." "Yes sir". Throughout the play Ken gives a lot of complementary language to the female nursing staff. "You have lovely breasts". "I beg your pardon". "I said you have lovely breasts". "You look lovely", Ken to Dr. Scott. "Thank you". Ken flirtishly compliments the female nursing staff showing that he is sexually frustrated and wants to act on the impulses he has, but the only way he can do that is verbally through compliments. ...read more.


Losing Ken's life would mean losing a very great mind that is very rare. At Dr. Travers speech Ken answers back with, "that sounds like catch twenty-two." Ken means if you are an intelligent person to have no case for suicide, there is no reason for you to die. Ken demonstrates that he thinks that Dr. Travers thinks that he is not going to succeed his case. Page fifty explains Ken's family background. It shows where he has come from and where his intelligence and his life has come from. Ken's Mother does not restrict or stop Ken from making his decision, showing understanding and where Ken's rational thinking comes from. Ken's view on the purpose of tranquillisers are that taking a tablet is to stop Ken from talking, thinking and maybe go to sleep, which will give the Doctors peace. He believes that the tranquillisers are not for him, they are for the Doctors' and their own tranquillity. The Doctors think that the tranquilliser tablet will help Ken come to terms with being paralysed for the rest of his life. Ken refuses to take the tranquilliser, "then you eat the tablet if you want tranquillity, because I'm not going to." Ken says this to one of the Doctors when they try and get him to take the tablet because he thinks it will take away his consciousness. This proves his point of wanting to die, because if they want to keep a rare mind alive then they are definitely not going to do it when they are giving him tranquillisers. "My consciousness is the only thing I have and I must claim the right to use it, as far as possible, act on conclusions I may come to." Through John, Brian Clarke raises the issue of money. It costs thousands of pounds to keep people like Ken alive, when it would only cost a few pounds to keep children from somewhere like Africa alive, with a measles vaccination. ...read more.


Hindu and Sikh Dharma may also leave it to individual consequence. I think in Ken's case these movements and Religious parties would agree with Ken's decision and maybe support his decision. Nowadays, few faiths prohibit passive Euthanasia, or refusal of treatment decisions. Those that do tend to oppose it include conservative Evangelicals, Islam and the Mormon Church. There is Jaina ethic of voluntary death through fasting, for instance. It is often thought that the Roman Catholic Church absolutely prohibits suicide, but Catholic theologians have confirmed that the prohibition, whilst being the Vatican's current position, is not an inviolable one. The Salvation Army believes that people do not have the right to death by their own decision. "Only God is sovereign over life and death." The Christian Reformed Church in North America, in 1971 adopted a resolution which stated: "that synod, mindful of the sixth commandment, condemn the wanton and arbitrary destruction of any human being at any state of its development from the point of conception to the point of death." I think that The Salvation Army would be completely against Ken's decision of death even if they followed his emotions and pain throughout the story. They would still believe that he had no right to make this decision. The Islamic religion is against Euthanasia, because the Qur'an states, "Take not life which Allah made sacred otherwise than in the course of Justice." The Islamic religion would also be against Ken's decision of death. The Mennonite denomination is a decentralised faith group in which individual conferences make their own statements on social issues. They believe that pain, isolation and fear are the main factors that drive dying persons to consider suicide. They feel that the state should not facilitate suicide, but rather control physical and emotional pain, and support the dying within a caring community setting. I think that this decentralised faith group might support or agree with Ken's decision to die, but say this reluctantly. 1 1 Caroline Piggott. Whose Life is it Anyway? By Brian Clarke ...read more.

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