Despite the differences in context, a comparative study of the poetry of John Donne and Margaret Edson’s play, ‘W;t’, is essential for a more complete understanding of the values and ideas presented in ‘W;t’. Discuss this with close reference to both texts.
When deconstructing the text ‘W;t’, by Margaret Edson, a comparative study of the poetry of John Donne is necessary for a better conceptual understanding of the values and ideas presented in Edson’s ‘W;t’. Through this comparative study, the audience is able to develop an extended understanding of the ideas surrounding death. This is achieved through the use of the semi-colon in the dramas title, ‘W;t’. Edson also uses juxtapositions and the literary device, wit, to shape and reshape the meaning of the drama when studied in alliance to the poetry of John Donne. This alliance has been strengthened by the parallel of Vivian Bearing’s and Donne’s interpretation of life, death and eternal life. This enables the responder to recognise the higher concepts of death and its meaning.
Both the play and the poems explore the higher aspects of the human condition: life, death and god; however from vastly different perspectives due to the authors differing contexts. Donne, a 17th century poet, was placed in a society where religious beliefs were dominant and most individuals were confident in their belief of life after death. In contrast, ‘W;t’ is set it modern times where science asserts more dominance over religion. The differences in context is symbolised by Vivian’s attachment to the IV pole shown on page 19 “She lies slumped on the bed, fastened to the IV” [stage directions]. This symbolism shows the audience how, although Vivian and Donne are parallels, the extremities of the problems faced by Vivian are different to Donne’s and how in Donne’s context, people relied on the belief of life after death which contrasts how Vivian has no religious beliefs and therefore places dependence on medicinal...
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