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Paper Topic:

How should our society assign value to human life?



[date of submission]


The Value of Life

Since time immemorial , there were many attempts to determine the value of life . During early times , people were being sold as wives , slaves and other functions . There was even a time wherein people had embraced the idea that there is no value to life at all , particularly during the time of the prevalence of existentialism . In the context of today 's world , some argues that life is now given value by achievements credentials , or the amount of salary one

receives . But are these things qualified to be our measure of the value of life ? Or perhaps the more profound inquiry would be : is it even possible to assign value to human life

On her article on TIME , entitled What is a Life Worth , Amanda Ripley had argued that the modern society 's attempt to assign a value to life is based on money . The author had presented instances wherein someone dies while on the job , yet the family does not receive any compensation . It was like the family was expecting that someone pay financially for someone 's death . Although , insurance and compensation is a popular way of placing financial value to someone 's life , it still does not sound right . Money cannot simply be enough to compensate for someone 's life , simply because of the fact that we did not use money to acquire life . Moreover , any amount would not be enough to bring back someone who is already dead . Yet this is the way companies , the government , and the families left behind approach death of a person (Ripley

Interestingly , William Shakespeare , arguably the most influential writer of all time , presents a solution for determining the value of life . Through the soliloquy of the regarded best dramatic character of all time , Hamlet , Shakespeare laid down his argument . Hamlet 's soliloquy suggests to us that life is intrinsically full of misfortunes . The character of Hamlet is contemplating suicide , as he views this as the only way to free himself of life 's misfortunes (Hamlet ,Prince of Denmark ,Act III ,Sc .1

It seems like both Ripley and Shakespeare are arguing that life can only be given value through death . Moreover , their arguments are focused on the misfortunes of an individual . We know that life is full of misfortunes , but there are still just as many positive points to being alive

Both pieces are also suggesting that the social status of a person has much to do with the value life . Ripley had explored the question : is there a difference between a poor man and a rich man in terms of the value of life . Shakespeare is also seemingly suggesting the same question as his protagonist , Hamlet , is belonging to a high social status - not to mention he is the prince of Denmark . However saddening to think , both authors maybe irrefutably right . There seem to be a significant difference in the value of life between the average person and the privileged ones...

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