Suffering and Identity in Donne and Wit

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One’s identity may be questioned when suffering; ultimately suffering is what creates one’s sense of self or what destroys it. The poetry of John Donne and the play W;t, 1993, by Margaret Edson, both illustrate and explore a sense of suffering and identity. In John Donne’s poetry, suffering, both emotionally and physically allows the speaker to understand their identity in more depth, in comparison to Margaret Edson’s play, W;t, Vivian’s suffering leads her identity to be stripped away. In Donne’s sonnet, ‘If poysonous mineralls’ we are shown suffering religiously and emotionally, through one’s sin’s, questioning god’s justice, which leads to a realisation of one’s identity. In Margaret Edson’s play, W;t, Vivian’s emotional suffering…show more content…
“And I their Mapp, who lie Flat on this bed”. He describes his body as a map, a metaphor for his life being a journey, which his doctors attempt to read in order to discover his illness and his suffering and ultimately where his journey ends. In reference to Cartography, Donne refers to bearings, using the imagery of a map to point out that what we see on the western edge of a flat map is also to be found on the eastern edge, showing that he believes life and death are connected to each other. In the final stanza, Donne feels joy at the though of death as he feels he will recover his identity by reuniting with the lord. In the final stanza, he returns to the idea of the first stanza, summing up the poem’s central message with the use of a paradox. “Therefore that he may raise the Lord throws down.” This paradox shows that to rise up to heaven, one must be thrown “down” by death, so therefore one must suffer to be accepted and united in a place where one’s identity is established. His extreme suffering has purged and prepared him for paradise.

Vivian’s physical suffering is caused by her illness, which slowly deteriorates her identity. In W;t, Vivian’s physical character is enhanced by her power through Language and it’s discourse. As time progresses, cancer slowly cause’s her to suffer physically, and therefore inverts her powerful identity. On page 25, Vivian’s body is clinically deconstructed, the
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