Wit by Margret Edson

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Wit by Margaret Edson “Now is a time for, dare I say it, kindness. I thought being extremely smart would take care of it. But I see I have been found out.” (Edson 54) Vivian Bearing is a brilliant, uncompromising, and cold-hearted character in Margaret Edson’s “Wit” but is only seen this way on the outside. After a year of cancer treatment, Vivian says it is time for kindness. In the play, Vivian is not a kind character whatsoever, but then changes into a more warm hearted character as the cancer treatment goes on. She says that “being extremely smart would take care of it but I see I have been found out”. What she means by this is that her intelligence and wit were not enough of a defense against the other characters in the play and that they have ascertained the true character of Vivian. “My only defense is the acquisition of vocabulary.” (Edson 38) In the play, Vivian Bearing is a teacher which a very large vocabulary and uses her skill in word play as a defense. When she teaches students, she uses sesquipedalian words to her power advantage as it makes her students feel as if they are inadequate. Ms. Bearing is not a kind teacher, she is more cold hearted than anything. However, Vivan starts to change into a more kind person which is evident in the latter part of the play. “……, but as I am a scholar I feel obliged to document what it is like here, most of the time, between the dramatic climaxes. In truth it is like this: You cannot imagine how time can be so still. It hangs. It weighs, and yet there is so little of it. It goes so slowly and it is so scarce. If I was writing this scene it would last a full 15 minutes. I would lie here and you would sit there.” (Edson 25) In this quote by Vivian Bearing as she is lying in her hospital bed, she describes time as not long, but shifting. Time isn’t extensive but it is heavy. Think of something small but very heavy,
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