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In the play Wit, the protagonist Vivian Bearing reexamines her sense of compassion towards others, and this may be considered as a thematic exploration of love. Vivian is an English professor and known for her strict rules and mannerisms with her students. Vivian recalls a time when a student asked her for an extension on an assignment because there had been a death in the family, and Vivian did not budge on her rules. At the time, Vivian reasoned that bad things happen in life all the time and that the student would have to learn to deal with setbacks. But after Vivian is diagnosed with cancer and put into the hospital, she begins to realize that people need others to listen to their problems and help them work through the hard times. Vivian is frustrated and angry because her doctors care more about her physical self than they do about her mental and emotional self, and she feels that no one really listens to what she wants and needs. At this point, Vivian understands compassion and regrets her past actions.
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