Different Views on the Value of Life

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The value of life differs for everyone. The general meaning of the value of life is appreciating what you have and making the best of the opportunities given to you. My definition of the value of life is to make the best of what you have and never take anything for granted. In my opinion, taking things for granted can lead to those things being taken away from you because you do not deserve to have all that you have. I have been told the more a person smiles the happier they are, and the more they laugh the longer that person will live. I appreciate everything that I have and all of the opportunities I have been given. In reality, my definition of the value of life is not to take advantage of the opportunities given and make the best of what you have. As I have said before the value of life differs for everyone. For example, the different opinions that will be expressed are suicide and happiness portrayed through a Shakespeare tragedy, Hamlet, Chris Jones’, Robert Ebert: The Essential Man,” and personal experience.

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First, the value of life to many people can mean suicide. In Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet, Hamlet at one point in the play introduces his Soliloquy where he talks about wanting to commit suicide. However, he did not follow through with this idea because he was not sure what the afterlife would be for him. In Hamlet’s Soliloquy, lines 5-8, he states “To die, to sleep…. the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks. . .” In these lines, he is explaining that he wants to go to sleep and never wake up because of the heartache and troubles he has experienced. At this point in the play, Hamlet is experiencing the death of his father and the new marriage of his mother. He goes mad in the play because while he is grieving for his father everyone in Denmark is celebrating the new marriage of the Queen. Hamlet is having an especially hard time with this event because his mother married his uncle. Also, he has developed feelings for Ophelia and her father, Polonius, does not agree with this decision. Ophelia then gave back all the letters Hamlet wrote to her which angered him, adding on to his madness. Hamlet also states in his Soliloquy in lines 22-24 “To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, the undiscovered country..” This is Hamlet talking himself out of it because he is afraid of the afterlife. He does not know the dreams he will dream of or what is waiting for him on the other side. Hamlet knows once he sleeps permanently he cannot come back, and that is his fear, therefore, he changes his mind and decides to live. Again, this is one perspective on the value of life, here is the opposite point of view.

Secondly, on the other hand, the value of life can mean pushing through obstacles with a smile on your face. Chris Jones’, Robert Ebert: The Essential Man, portrays the opposite of what Hamlet sees as the value of life. Robert Ebert faces many challenges in his life. He faces challenges such as cancer and an extreme amount of surgical procedures. He finds joy in writing and journaling. After his surgical procedures, he lost his voice, therefore, making it difficult for him to talk and communicate. Making the best of what he has he finds ways to communicate by making up his own sign language or by writing everything down. In the article Chris Jones states in lines 35-36, “Ebert takes joy from the world. . . He has had to find a new way to laugh. . .” showing that no matter what Ebert has faced he makes the best of what he has and enjoys everything he once did. He enjoys going to the movies with a spiral notebook to write down parts of the movie. After all of the procedures he has been through and all of the obstacles he has faced he does not even remember the last thing he has eaten or drank, he doesn’t even remember his first procedure. In the article, Ebert states in lines 32-33 “I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. . .” He knows he is going to die but he wants to die peacefully so he makes the best of what he has and does not dwell on the challenges he faces on a day-to-day basis. This is a perfect example of the value of life where happiness is the main focus, here is another example.

Lastly, here is another example of the value of life in terms of happiness and making the best of what you have. I have faced many challenges in my life. I have always been the underdog and have always been happy with that. As a young child playing sports I was always doubted and no one thought I was ever going to be more than I am. At the age of 14, I was then told I would never go to college on a scholarship for softball because I was too little or I was not good enough. I would always laugh and say “okay we’ll see” because I knew I was going to make it and live out my dream. I continued to work hard every single day and proved everyone wrong. At the age of 17 on October 21st, 2019 I verbally committed to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to play D1 softball on a full-ride scholarship. Everyone was shocked and gave me a lot of congratulations and all I could say was “thank you I told you I could do it.” I never gave up, I always looked at the positive side of situations instead of dwelling on how bad I did. I always had a smile on my face and made the best of the situation no matter how good or bad the situation was. I had to remind myself to keep smiling and everything will pay off, you just have to work for it. The value of life to me is making the best of the opportunities given to you and never give up no matter what anyone tells you.

In conclusion, the value of life differs for everyone. Hamlet’s version of the value of life is suicide in the play especially portrayed in his soliloquy. Another version of the value of life is happiness which is portrayed in Chris Jones’s article Robert Ebert: The Essential Man. Also, my version of the value of life is happiness and making the best of the opportunities given to you. The value of life is making the best of the situation no matter good or bad. The value of life, in my opinion, is to always have a smile on your face and to appreciate the things you have while you have them because one day those things may not be there and you will regret not having those things and opportunities anymore.  

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