What does McMurphy's death accomplish that his life couldn't?
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I think McMurphy can be considered a hero and even a Christ-figure. McMurphy attempts to work within the Nurse's system, trying to outmanipulate and outfox her with his various schemes. Although some of his motivations are self-serving, he ultimately seeks to free the other patients from the bondage they comply with. McMurphy eventually pays the ultimate sacrifice for his rebellion of the human spirit. The men will continue in the institution but there is a martyr they will always remember: they will have greater degree of independence than before.