The main theme that rounds throughout the play are those of: life and death, decisions, responsibility and authority.  The story is about a paralysed sculptor who wants to end his life against the wishes of the authorities (the Doctors).  The main characters are Ken – the paralysed man, Dr.Emerson and Dr.Scott.  In addition to this their is John, Nurse Saddler, the Sister, the Judge and they two lawyers, though these last 3 characters only make a brief appearance in Act Two.  The play is mainly set in Ken’s room in the hospital occasionally going to the Nurses Office.  There is a lot of conflict between Ken and Dr.Emerson; it represents the occurrence of a person with a debilitating illness fighting against the authority for their rights.  It also represents the strong views Doctors have for saving life at all costs.  Brian Clarke uses the conflict of opinion to create dramatic tension that draws the audience in to the reality of life.

        Ken is presented as an individual through his relationships with different members of the hospital hierarchy.  Ken says to John that he likes ‘Steel bands’, this shows he has an opinion about music, thus making him an individual.  Another reason he is an individual is because he makes choices about his treatment, although they are often ignored by the hospital, he decides he doesn’t want drugs – he wants to keep his conscious mind.

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‘Ken: My consciousness is the only thing I have and I must claim the right to use it, as far as possible, act on the conclusions I come to.’

‘Ken: I am an individual so the choice is mine.’

        Emerson’s role and ethical beliefs are particularly seen through his relationship with Dr Scott.  Dr Emerson has a strong ethical belief that life should be ‘saved at all costs’ as he said to Dr Scott.  He also says that Ken should have the drugs despite it being against his wishes, ‘we have years of experience, he cannot challenge ...

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