Every human being on this planet wants to be rich and live in prosperity. Many of us strive for all the earthly treasures this world has to offer, but is that really the purpose in life? In the story, “The Bet”, by Anton Chekhov, a young man bets fifteen years of his life with no human communication, for two million in return. The main purpose in life is not earthly treasures, but to know that when death arrives all of your earthly treasure will not matter. This is shown through the plot of the story, the man’s sacrificial character, through learning, and a direct statement. They all prove that earthly riches are not the true meaning of life.

First, the plot of the story shows that main purpose in life is to know that when death arrives all of your earthly treasure will not matter. The young man bets his freedom to earn two million, by trying to prove the banker wrong. This is shown when he says, “Agreed! You stake two million and I stake my freedom!” (Chekhov 212). He stakes his freedom for two million and is then to stay in a dungeon for fifteen years, with no communication with humanity. “It was decided that the young man should spend the years of his captivity under the strictest supervision in one of the lodges in the banker’s garden” (Chekhov 212). Clearly the man could go insane with no communication with humanity, especially when he gets locked away for fifteen years. During those years the man read a lot and studied all different types of literature as well, and because of the plot that he created he began to understand the true meaning of life. Which is stated when he says, “To deprive myself of the right of money, I shall go out from here in five minutes before the time fixed and so break the compact…” (Chekhov 216). He shows that he got wise over the years, and now the two million mean nothing to him. Through the plot of the story, he learns the true meaning of life is to know when death comes all earthly treasures won’t matter.

Furthermore, because of the man’s sacrificial character,he learns the true meaning of life is to know that when death arrives earthly treasures are not what will matter. His sacrificial character is shown when he says, “I’ll take the bet, but I would not stay not five, but fifteen years” (Chekhov 212). He could of only stayed in the lodge for five years, but since he wanted to prove the banker wrong, so he challenged him by saying he will stay not five but fifteen years. His sacrificial character is also shown when the banker says, “Think better of it, young man,…” “but you are losing three or four of the best years of your life” (Chekhov 212). This just shows that the young man is sacrificing some of the best years of his life, in order to prove the banker wrong. But because of his sacrificial character, through those fifteen years he learns the true meaning of life, and that earthly treasures are not what matter in the end.

Additionally, the main purpose of the story is what the main character learns. The man learns that when death arrives earthly treasures are not what will matter. This is shown when he says,“To prove to you in action how I despise all that you live by, I renounce the two million of which I once dreamed as of paradise and which now I despise” (Chekhov 216). He proves that earthly treasure is not what is important in life, and that he despises the two million because they are not the true purpose in life. He tells humanity that he learned that they are all living a lie, this is shown when he declares, “You have lost your reason and taken the wrong path. You have taken lies for truth and hideous for beauty” (Chekhov 216).He is trying to show humanity that they have lost their reason because they believe that earthly treasures are what is important in life. He is stating that people have forgotten the main purpose in life, and thatpeople don’t realize that when death arrives, earthly treasures are not what matter in the end.

Lastly, the main idea of the story is directly stated. It shows that the true meaning of life is not earthly treasures, but to know that when death arrives earthly treasures are not what will matter. This is directly stated when at the end of the story the young man declares,“You may be proud, wise, and fine, but death will wipe you off the face of the earth as though you were no more than mice….”(Chekhov 216). He shows humanity that no matter how many earthly treasures you may have, but when death comes they will all be forgotten. This shows that the main purpose in life is not earthly treasures, but when death arrives to be ready, because no man can escape death.

In the story “The Bet”, Anton Chekhov tires to show that the main purpose is to know that when death arrives all of your earthly treasure will not matter. First, this is proven through the plot of the story, the man learns from his mistakes and the true meaning of life. Secondly, the man’s sacrificial character, he learns the true meaning of life and that earthly treasures are not what matter in the end. Also, throughout the story the main thing the man learns is that, the earthly treasures will be worthless in the end, because in the end no man can escape death. Lastly, the main idea of the story is directly stated, which shows us that the true meaning of life is not earthly treasures, but because no man can escape death, all that matters is what you leave this world with when you die. No matter how rich you are and how many earthly treasures you own, in the end they are not what will matter, because in the end no one can escape death. When death comes will you be prepared to let go of all your treasures? If not I advise you to re-think your main purpose in life.

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