Whose Life Is It Anyway?
How does Brain Clark persuade the audience that Ken’s decision to die is right?
Whose life is it anyway? is about Ken Harrison, a paralysed patient in hospital, and his battle to end his own life. The problem here is that he is incapable of committing suicide and has to turn to euthanasia. The hospital is against this. They cannot deliberately let a conscious person die. In this essay I will tackle the question above, how Brain Clark persuades us that Ken’s decision is right.
The title of the play, 'Whose life is it anyway?' announces the issue. It is evidently Ken's life, but the amount of choice and free will he now has in it is minimal. Ken believes he is already dead, metaphorically speaking. Because, being in a state where he cannot carry out the things he would in an every-day life, is the same as being “dead” to him. I looked up the word ‘life’ in the dictionary and I found that it means “ Human existence, relationships, or activity in general: real life; everyday life” This is exactly what Ken does not have. So I can clearly see his point of wanting to die. Ken voices this point in the play:
“I do not wish to live at any price. Of course I would like to live but as far as I am concerned I am dead already. I merely require the doctors to recognise the fact. I cannot accept this condition constitutes life in any real sense at all.”
The absence of freedom and choice makes you wonder just how much of a life he is now in possession of. Despite it is his life - he isn't running it. Hence the title. This starts the play with a question and all further events are in answer to it. This shows it is meant to be, partly, a battle of wills between two sides over his life.
Brian Clark displays this play as a discussion of debate. It makes you think about issues of life and death and their importance. Brian Clark uses a witty, intelligent and well-spoken man to play the role of convincing us about matters that should be thought of more considerately.
Ken is going through pain and suffering of being alive in his current state, which other people do not see as they overlook it with professionalism. They bluntly refuse to accept his choice plainly because they think it is wrong.