Themes in The Bet
The Pitfalls of Materiality: Although the story does not provide resolution on the issue of capital punishment, it does explore the meaning of human life. The lawyer, who survives fifteen years of solitary confinement, comes away from his years of studying and reading with newfound knowledge. He sees the world in a new light, understanding that humans are egotistical and power-hungry. This belief is exemplified by the banker whose wealth and loss of wealth cause him to act dishonestly and consider committing murder.