The Effect of Soliloquy in "Wit" Essay

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A soliloquy is a literary device most popular among playwrights. A character conveys his/her thoughts and feelings without speaking to any of the other characters. In the play Wit, the author, Margaret Edson, employs the soliloquy as a tool used to demonstrate the feelings of the main character, Vivian Bearing, who often breaks the fourth wall in order to speak directly to the audience. Margaret Edson uses the soliloquy to give Vivian Bearing a chance to express how she is feeling and what she is thinking throughout the play. By using the soliloquy Margaret Edson manages to invoke sympathy, rather than pity, in the audience towards the constant struggle that Vivian faces. Rather than merely watching Vivian suffer through her painful …show more content…
She discusses the pain and humiliation of her cancer treatment: Yes, it is mildly uncomfortable to have an elec- trocardiogram, but the . . . agony . . . of a procto- sigmoidoscopy sweeps it from memory . . . Yes, having a former student give me a pelvic exam was thoroughly degrading—and I use the term deliberately (4. 6-13).
It is expected that this passage would raise compassion among the audience members as they witness Vivian’s degradation. Hearing the actor recite these lines would bring the character to life, making Vivian more than merely a stage character. Margaret Edson does a fantastic job of incorporating Vivian’s suffering into this soliloquy. Soon after, Vivian breaks the fourth wall once more to speak directly to the audience as she delivers another soliloquy. Vivian openly challenges the viewers to understand her agony when she says, “But if you think eight months of cancer treatment is tedious for the audience, consider how it feels to play my part” (5. 18-20). In this excerpt Margaret Edson strongly connects Vivian’s plight to the audience. Edson forces the viewers to think twice about their own troubles as they compare them to those of the lead character. The average member of the intended audience has probably never even contemplated anything close to what the lead character of Wit is experiencing, however, anyone who has experienced physical or emotional pain of any sort can easily sympathize with Vivian as she faces

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