How does the lawyer spend his 15 years of imprisonment in "The Bet" by Anton Checkhov?
The impulsive lawyer is sequestered in the banker's lodge where he can have virtually anything he desires except human companionship.
After arguing against the banker that life imprisonment is not less humane than capital punishment--"to live anyhow is better than not at all"--the banker wages two million rubles that the lawyer cannot stay in solitary confinement for five years. With the arrogance and recklessness of youth, the lawyer contends that he can stay, not just five, but fifteen years. The banker accepts the bet, but he warns the younger man,
Don't forget either, you unhappy man, that voluntary confinement is a great deal harder to bear than compulsory.
So, while the lawyer tries to prove that living an isolated life is not a hardship and win the bet of two million, he can have any of the books he wants, he is given a piano and music, he is allowed to write letters, and he may drink wine and smoke. The only outlet to the...
(The entire section contains 499 words.)
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