Home > Free Essays > Literature > American Literature > ‘Wit’ by Margaret Edson
Cite this

‘Wit’ by Margaret Edson Critical Essay

The play ‘Wit’ by Margaret Edson presents Vivian as the main character. Vivian is a highly educated woman but unfortunately she suffers from cancer of the ovary. She attempts to use her academic qualifications to conceal the truth that she has cancer but she finally decides to face the truth. The aim of this paper is to present a critical analysis and interpretation of the play’s ending. In addition, the effect of the end of the play will also be discussed.

As the play opens, Vivian is presented as a patient fully dressed in hospital attire. The disease has taken a great toll on her causing her to lose a lot of weight. When she is first informed of her condition, she does not exhibit any emotions, a fact that is attributed to her high academic qualifications.

To Vivian, the news that she has cancer are not in any way shocking since she compares the situation with what she deals with on a daily basis in her work. She starts treatment with one of the doctors being her former student. The doctors intend to use her treatment for experimental purposes.

Since Vivian is a professional, the idea of being used as an experimental tool does not present any difficult to her and she agrees to undergo the treatment without involving anybody else. She does not bother herself so much with the disease she is suffering from but decides to use much of her time in reading about it.

To her, it requires the same attention she gives various areas of study in her field (Edson 9). In the course of the treatment, it is clear that Vivian is a woman full of strength. She openly states that she can confront problems instead of shying away from them. Her treatment introduces Susie and Jason who are supposed to take care of her though they have different characteristics. Jason is only interested in the experimental aspect of Vivian’s treatment while Susie is human.

The condition of Vivian worsens after an overdose is administered to her. However, she still remains determined and comforts herself by saying that she is used to suffering. She uses her situation to show that it can be used as a source of academic articles (Park 1).

Despite her will to fight till the end, Vivian’s health is seriously affected by the drugs towards the end of the play. The doctors are prepared to save her life and continue with their resuscitation efforts.

Susie, who is among the attendants of Vivian feels that the patient has suffered a lot and suggests that death, would be better. Vivian finally agrees that she is suffering from a dangerous disease and gets afraid. She finally comes to a realization that wit and intellect are not enough to guarantee human beings life (Park 1).

As the play nears the end, the author brings out isolation as one of the major themes. Isolation is a condition in which an individual does not want to be in close association with others. Although this theme comes out clearly towards the end, it runs throughout the entire play.

Vivian is suffering from a medical condition but she constantly denies it and says it is a condition that requires academic research. When she goes to the hospital, she refuses to be accompanied by relatives or family friends. The interpretation is that isolation is harmful as Vivian learns at the end.

Wit is a play that tells the story of a professor who becomes a victim of cancer of the ovary. The professor is too concerned with her academic professionalism such that she denies her condition. She lives a life of isolation but as the play ends, she discovers that social relations are important in human life. The message in the play is that social relations are helpful in situations of need.

Works Cited

Edson, Margaret. Wit. New York, NY: Nick Hern Books, 2002. Print

Park, Brent. Wit. 2002. Web.

This critical essay on ‘Wit’ by Margaret Edson was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Need a custom Critical Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

301 certified writers online

Cite This paper

Select a citation style:


IvyPanda. (2018, June 12). ‘Wit’ by Margaret Edson. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/wit-by-margaret-edson/

Work Cited

"‘Wit’ by Margaret Edson." IvyPanda, 12 June 2018, ivypanda.com/essays/wit-by-margaret-edson/.

1. IvyPanda. "‘Wit’ by Margaret Edson." June 12, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/wit-by-margaret-edson/.


IvyPanda. "‘Wit’ by Margaret Edson." June 12, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/wit-by-margaret-edson/.


IvyPanda. 2018. "‘Wit’ by Margaret Edson." June 12, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/wit-by-margaret-edson/.


IvyPanda. (2018) '‘Wit’ by Margaret Edson'. 12 June.

More related papers