• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3

Analysing 'Whose Life Anyway?'

Extracts from this document...


'Whose Life Is It Anyway?' Analysing The Play The play's overall theme is based on issues surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide. The subject or euthanasia presents many ethical and moral problems to the characters in the play, to the reader, and in today's society. Before the 21st Century, assisted suicide was seen as morally wrong, nowadays, people's views have changed a little, but many believe it is still wrong and euthanasia is still illegal in most countries. The issue of euthanasia is very emotional and allows the audience to form their own opinions. Its also portrays the problems the characters have to deal with, which aids the audience in relating to the characters, thus improving their understanding of the situation. The title 'Whose life is it anyway' shows Ken's struggle to have control over his life, as the doctors, particularly due to his almost complete paralysis, have almost complete control over his life and treatment. The issue of whether Ken should have been allowed to end his own life represents a wider issue which is still relevant today, almost 30 years on. ...read more.


It is also not mentally stimulating enough for Ken, as his intelligence is not being used to its full potential. During Act One, the audience is introduced to most of the characters, the setting and Ken's unfortunate situation. The 'subplot' involving Kay Sadler and John also becomes apparent, and continues to develop throughout the play. The audience begin to form their own opinions on the issue, and the statement: "I've decided not to stay alive" Is very powerful. It increases the tension within the hospital and gives the audience 'food for thought' as they experience the emotions brought on by such a cutting statement. In Act One, Ken's feelings are at their lowest point He feels lonely and depressed and this negativity eventually peaks when he makes the decision to end his life. Tension is a crucial part of the atmospheric progression in the play. The part where Ken receives 'Valium' against his will is a major point of tension: "I specifically refused permission for you to stick that needle in me and you didn't listen." Both this incident and the meeting with Mrs Boyle create tension. ...read more.


The play is extremely thought provoking and it insists the audience challenge and discuss the issues raised about euthanasia. In conclusion, I think that Brian Clark has used sympathy and tension to intrigue and entertain the audience, as well as using a controversial issue. This maintains the attention of the audience and the constant progression of the plot, particularly the 'sub-plots', which add a little light relief from the main dramatic content and bring in an emotional side to the play, thus helping the audience to relate to the points being brought about. The use of humour and s****l innuendo's is also notable, this lightens the tone and also helps the audience to build attachment to Ken as he makes them laugh and feel comfortable. The issues surrounding euthanasia are still sensitive and controversial, and even more so in the 1970's, at the time of the play's release. The issue is highly opinionated, and the fact that Ken fights for his own right to die questions morals and ethics, both from the audience, and society as a whole. In my opinion, Ken should have had the right to die, and others, of sound mind, should be allowed to do so if it is seen to be beneficial. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Plays section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Plays essays

  1. Bouncers Plot adn Sub Plot

    Ralph then calls the bouncers to deal with the situation and then Les and Judd arrive to clear away Eric. * The bouncers then talk about a p**n film that they will watch. There is a flashback to when Eric and Ralph bought the video, the scene changes to a video shop and Judd plays the shop assistant.

  2. Analysing Plot and Subplot of 'whose life is it anyway?'

    This request is rejected by the doctors. As the plot is revealed towards the end of act one when Dr Scott and Ken talk about euthanasia, it is evident that some of the more sensitive issues are involved in the play and each character's morals and ethics are questioned.

  1. How does Brian Clark make use of dramatic techniques to make the audience sympathise ...

    The audience also feels empathy for Ken when Dr. Emerson is patronising. For example after he injected Ken he says, "Of course you're depressed. I'll send someone along to have a chat with you", implying that Ken's problems can be easily solved with a cheery word. Dr. Scott is a female junior registrar in the hospital.

  2. How does Brian Clark make his play "Whose life is it anyway?" Interesting, Memorable ...

    "You must be in charge of the compost heap. That's where I should be." This shows he feels at ease with John and can reveal what he really feels to the friendly ward orderly. Ken's character in the play is an interesting one. Before his accident he was a very talented sculptor.

  1. Theatre Review on 'Whose Life is it anyway?

    Without a doubt I would have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Kim Cattrall's performance in the role of 'Claire Harrison'. I personally thought it was amazing, how she portrayed Claire's, thoughts and feeling just through facial expressions and her tone of voice, as the only part of the body she could move was her head.

  2. "Whose life is it anyway?" - Ken Harrison

    It is very clear to the audience that ken is thinking much more about his future and he doesn't want his mind affected by the prescribed vallium 'please let me make myself clear. I specifically asked refused permission to stick that needle in me and you didn't listen.

  1. Plot and subplot -

    They point to three convicts, including Liz Morden, as possible accomplices and the rehearsal is left ruined. This marks a struggle for "The Recruiting Officer," with Ralph suggesting to Phillip to stop the play going forward as half the convicts are in chains and there is strong opposition from officers in a higher position than he.

  2. 'How does Ridley Scott convince you that the Romans are not invaders and Maximus ...

    'Will they fight sir,' a soldier addresses his General, 'we'll find out soon enough,' Maximus replies coolly. The Emperor says 'people should know when they are conquered'. This is, an only real sign that the Romans are indeed the invaders and not the side heroically defending their beloved people, however

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work