The play, Wit by Margaret Edson is a narrative of a n English professor struggle with cancer. After she was told that she had a terminal cancer, she had to figure out how she was going to handle the rest of her life. Edson opens the play by telling the audience about Vivian, the main character, everything about her life, and her ironic perspective about life. Vivian is portrayed being proud of her strength, in her medical journey ready to take on the heavy doses of chemicals. At some point, she flashed back her life as a child while going through a physical deterioration but she remained strong and fearless. This paper primarily focuses on the scientific information and critical scholarship that provide understanding of the Wit play.
There are various works which provides insight into Wit. For instance, Donne’s poetry has greatly influenced Wit’s play in the script writing. Therefore, the critical scholarship that provides insight into the experiences of the Wit play is the John Donne’s poetry. Most of the Donne’s poems enrich the audiences with the themes of death and love. This has been reflected in the Wit’s play in many instances. Wits have been properly employed in the Edson’s play which indicates Donne’s influences. In many scenes, Vivian is witty and sarcastic in the way she talked. Even after she was told that she had cancer, she became comical when talking about her misery. According to Edson, death has to be accepted as a way out of the pain that an individual may be feeling. The issue of death is greatly portrayed in the Donne’s poetry which indicates his obsession on the theme. This seemed to have influenced the Wit play because it is considered as not something to be feared but rather as a way out of pain.
His Christian way of upbringing convinced him of the existence of the afterlife. According to John Donne, death is not supposed to be feared but rather conquered with the faith of having to enjoy the afterlife. The way Edson portray death is a clear understanding that death is temporary that opens a door to another life and therefore, any individual suffering from any illness should accept death as a way out of Pin. This is evident on the way Vivian was talking about death. She discussed it wittingly and comically indicating lack of fear may be because one is aware there is an afterlife at the end of it all. H Vivian openly preferred death to any kind of treatment claiming that treatment was full of pain yet death was a way out of pain.
Donne was religious and he believed that Christians overpowered death and that they had nothing to fear. He demeaned the power of death by saying that it was nothing serious but the end result to fate and chance. He equated it as something that involved resting and sleeping robbing of its power. Also, the way Vivian treated death as a way of escaping pain is a clear indication that Donne had great influence on the Edson’s play. She did not put much consideration on death and claimed that the treatment processes of ovarian cancer were the most painful ones and that the death was just a way of relieving a person from the pain.
Donne’s poetry has been seen to be portraying both Christian and intellectual life. He was brought by Catholic parents and that is why he was very religious in his poems. This explains why some other themes such as religion have been considered in the Edson’s play. Vivian’s redemption was achieved through her encounter with Ashford. Edson unknowingly affirmed both serious scholarship and a Christian understanding of God’s persistent pursuit of His children. There is religion involved in the life of Vivian. Professionalism was another theme seen through Vivian’ profession and her longing to teach again when she was sick and at the hospital.
Vivian was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was given a high-dose treatment. This indicates her stage of cancer. This has been well illustrated in the research conducted by John Martisch which provides the overview of the stage IV cancer. According to John’s research, patients diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer have disease that can spread outside the abdomen and the liver. Its standard treatment for stage IV ovarian cancer consisted of both surgery and
chemotherapy. Unfortunately, less than 10% of patients experience long-term survival following
standard treatment. This explains why Vivian was given chemotherapy with the doctors saying that he was not going to live for long. Chemotherapy may be given before and after surgery. It is given to the patients before so as to reduce the cancerous cells before the cancer is surgically removed.
Another scientific research indicates that there are various chemotherapy treatments that can treat her disease. According to this research, any patient undergoing chemotherapy treatments is likely to experience various side-effects such as fever, vomiting, chills and abdominal pain. Vivian’s ailment involved becoming unconscious which required urgent attention. Edson chose ovarian cancer as the Vivian’s ailment due to the difficult survival statistics. Hers was an advanced ovarian cancer and eve the nurse told her that there was no treatment for her disease. Unfortunately, Vivian was at first in denial of the disease which is normal for all the individuals diagnosed with cancer. Edson illustrates in the play the face made by Vivian after she was told by Doctor Kelekian that she had cancer. It is evident from it that everyone fears cancer no matter what it no advanced treatment had and for every treatment, there was a lot of pain involved. She was shocked and had to sit down first and think about and everything involved.
Keely Macarow also provided her overview of the reaction she had upon being told by her doctor that she had cancer. According to her, any willingness of the patient to live will increase the chances of becoming cancer-free after the surgical removal of the cancer. She was scared at first but she showed her celebration of the twelve year journey embarking on cancer treatments that have been successful in many instances. She went through many operations aimed at removing the malignant. In Wit, Vivian had a chance to live through other available treatment options but she had accepted that death was coming earlier than she thought. She did this by agreeing to sign the DNR order for Do Not Resuscitate order. That order meant that if Bearing lost consciousness no extraordinary means should be used to keep her alive.