Why is the play called Wit? It is sometimes stylized as W;t. Why is this? What are two reasons as to why the play being called Wit is significant (brings out underlying meaning, themes, ideas, etc.)?

The play is called W;t for several reasons. It's central character, Vivian, is a poetry professor who values the concept of wit both personally and professionally, teaching and studying the use of wit in life and literature. Vivian uses wit to be humorous and to deflect pain, while valuing the intelligence behind it. The use of the semicolon refers to Vivian's determination to outwit death and her ultimate understanding that she, and wit, cannot.

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Margaret Edson’s play Wit follows Vivian Bearing—renowned professor of seventeenth-century poetry—through her treatment for and final days of advanced metastatic ovarian cancer. The title is significant because Vivian values the concept of wit both professionally and personally. As an expert on metaphysical poet John Donne, she teaches and learns from his poem “Death, Be Not Proud” of the “Holy Sonnets” about the use of wit in literature and life. After first learning of her cancer diagnosis, she describes herself as “an unwitting accomplice”; her illness is not a situation within her awareness or under her control.

One definition of “wit” is the use of words to express clever and quick humor. Since she was five years old, Vivian has enjoyed words and wordplay; words and humor are underlying themes in the play. To deflect and downplay the severity, pain, and unpleasant effects—like hair loss and vomiting—of her cancer treatment, Vivian uses wit to try to be funny;...

(The entire section contains 754 words.)

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