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The dynamic paradigms relating to death, scientific advancement and

relationships, and their contentious dispositions are creatively explored in both

compositions in a unique manner, enabling a fulfilling and heightened sense of
understanding to a discerning audience. Good afternoon Year 12 students, and
welcome to the University of Sydney HSC Study Day. My name is Miguel Ramirez,
and I will be your lecturer for the English Advanced course. Today we will be
discussing the intertextual connections between John Donnes poetry and
Margaret Edsons W;t and the way in which the influence of the authors context
represents ideas reciprocated in both texts, which subsequently results in a
deeper understanding of these ideas.
Getting straight into it, both Edson and Donne utilize differing mediums as a
means of expressing the overbearing nature of death. In Donnes Holy Sonnets
X: Death, be not proud, death is personified and belittled Death, be not proud
why swellst thou then? This is indicative of the metaphysical process in which
the persona initially perceives death and its power as an insuperable barrier and
how it breaks it down step-by-step, and presenting a conceit to come to a
conclusion that death has no power, And Death shall be no more; Death, thou
shalt die. Evidently, Donnes context has influenced his representation of death.
As Donne lived in the Elizabethan era, religion had a great impact on his context.
Donnes religious beliefs suggest that he had belief in the afterlife. As a
consequence, Donne saw death as nothing more as a spiritual journey, a part of
the process of life, One short sleep past, we wake eternally. This allows the
audience to perceive an understanding of death through a different perspective.
Similarly, Edson represents death as insignificant albeit, through a different
means. In Wit, Vivian lives in a secular society, akin to Edson herself. Lack of
spirituality is emphasized with Vivian, It appears to be a matter, as the saying
goes, of life and death. I know all about life and death. I am after all, a scholar of
Donnes Holy Sonnets, where when a topic of spirituality is brought up, she
relates it back to logic. As with Donne, the influence of Edsons context is
evident. Living modern society, Edsons context has been heavily influenced by
the increasingly secular society. Therefore, due to the decrease in spirituality,
ideas of death and life are less relevant in society and as such, death appears to
have less power. As a result, death is explored further and a greater
understanding of the significance is developed.
It is only through a comparative study of both texts that our appreciation and
understanding of discoveries can be heightened. In Donnes Sunne Rising, there
is an allusion to the cosmological discoveries of his time, Shine here to us, and
thou art everywhere; this bed thy center is, thy walls thy sphere. This refers to
the ongoing scientific debate between the heliocentric and geocentric models.
The metaphysical conceit of the bed thy center represents this idea of
discovery. Donnes context has clearly influenced his representation of discovery,
and with the usage of a conceit to elicit this, the significance of the idea of
discovery is realized, resulting in a greater understanding. In a different manner,
Edson represents the similar idea of discovery. Through Vivians cancer, the
importance of chemotherapeutical research is emphasized, so whats up with
the cancer cells? Smartest guys in the world, with the best labs, funding they
dont know what to make of it. The enigmatic nature of cancer further highlights
the lack of knowledge about cancer itself. As Vivian turns into a subject of
research herself, Theyve learned a lot for their researchthere just isnt a good

treatment for what you have yet the lack of scientific discovery is displayed.
Contextually influenced by contemporary society, Edson has imbued these
influences within the text. Through an implementation in storyline and
characters, Edson has represented the idea of discovery such that the audience
develops a much greater understanding about the discovery, cancer research,
and its significance in saving the lives of those who suffer from it. As such, the
influences of both authors contexts represent discovery in their works in such a
way that it is understood to a much greater degree, and its significance is

To all you Year 12 students, the influence of an Elizabethan context and a modern
context are both able to depict similar ideas, in a different manner, which leads
to a subsequent deeper appreciation of those. Before we conclude, are there any
other questions relating to this module? Well then, on behalf of The University of
Sydney, I would like to thank you for attending the English Advanced Lecture on
Module A here at the University of Sydney HSC Study Day. We wish you all the
best in your future endeavours. Thank You.

Today at the Sydney University, it is my pleasure to be here and share my

understanding of the two texts I studied. John Donne is one of the greatest poets
throughout the human history. Donne in his poetry explores the metaphysical
concern about existence as well as his relationship with God. What is the purpose
of life and what is afterlife? Similarly, Margaret Edsons brilliant play W;t
discovers the change of an individuals perspective about mortality, death and
relationships. However despite of different times and eras, similar ideas are
explored. I strongly believe that despite the literal obviousness of both texts,
through the poetic techniques and the dramatic representation of ideas and
values both texts draw on distinctive contexts to explore similar ideas and values
that deepen our understanding of the significance of each.
Death is a timeless concern and it plays an important role in both John Donnes
poetry and W;t. The existentialism about death is challenged when individuals
are suffering death. In a secular society we are able make rational decisions,
objective opinions and logic thinking. However can we do the same when we
realise our death is approaching? Margaret Edson through her brilliant
characterisation the play shows the change of an individuals perception about
death. As a doctor of philosophy ---- a scholar of seventeenth-century poetry
through Vvians rational thinking she is really confident about death. In Vivians
monologue, the allusion to John Donnes poem Death be not proud reinforces
her understanding of death. However Vivian as a patient of stage four
metastatic ovarian cancer she eventually becomes vulnerable in both her body
and mental. Through the use of the bed as a trope Edson further emphasises
Vivians vulnerability. Again, it is through Vivians monologue we recognise her
fear towards death. I want to hide. Vivian is finally confronted by her death.
The dramatic representation of Vivians treatment shows that the existentialism
about death vanishes as she suffers the pain.
Similarly in John Donnes poetry his great confidence of death vanishes as he
walks toward his death. During the medieval time afterlife is a common concern.
Am I going to end up in the Hell or the Heaven? Donne with his intelligence he is
able to make objective view about death however towards his death Donnes
fear of hell changes his perspective. In this is my playes last scene Donne
shows his great confidence about death. The imagery of unjoint and the
Cartesian dualism of body and soul show Donnes rational perspective about
death as a process to free an individuals soul. However his understanding of
death changes as he becomes older. In the poem Hym to God, My god, In my
sickness Donne fears deaths ability to bring him to hell. Is the Pacific sea my
home? The allusion to Pacific sea as a place of death shows Donnes acceptance
of death as well as his uncertainty about afterlife. Donnes great intelligence
does not help him to avoid the acceptance of deat Ultimately despite of the

literal obviousness, both texts through different ways of representation show that
death is a universal human concern which transcends time.
Individuals change their perception about relationships after a sea change.
Relationships are created for various reasons, it can be chance, need and love.
Why do we interact with other people? Does our relationship ever change? In a
secular society through rational thinking we judge the need for relationships. In
the play W;t Vivian believes that she does not need to make any connections
with the rest of the society. Edson through her clever use of flashbacks she
characterises Vivian. In Vivians flashback as a scholar, Edson shows Vivians
isolation from the rest of the society as she avoids Professor Ashfords advice to
enjoy yourself with your friends. Furthermore Vivians isolation is also a result
of her own eager. In Vivians metatheatrical dialogues she is constantly lecturing
the audiences. However as I mentioned earlier Vivian changes her perception
about death at the end. It is through this sea-change she changes her perception
about relationships. Edson through her unique use of wit shows Vivians
realisation of the importance of relationships, she needs someone to care about
her. Do not think for a minute that anyone calls me sweet heart! But then I
allowed. Through the dramatic representation Edson illustrates the change of
Vivians perspective about relationship after the acknowledging the great fear of
Similarly in John Donnes poetry his relationship with God changes after a seachange. During the medieval time, religion plays an important role in individuals
lives. People believe that it is important to have a good relationship with God.
After the death of Donnes wife he started writing sonnets to express his
desperation to enhance his relationship with God. However in Donnes early
poetry he explores love being the most important thing in the world. The
Petrarchan style shes all states, and all princes I emphasises the importance
of love. However towards Donnes death he realises the need to build up a
connection with God, to reinforce his relationship with God. In If poisonous
minerals, and if that tree, Donne uses the octave to set up his argument by
revealing objective views, lecherous goats and serpents envious. Through
the sestet Donne reveals his own sin and begs for forgiveness from God in order
to achieve salvation. Ultimately, despite of different contexts both authors with
their great use of techniques explore the change of perception about
relationships which help to enhance our understanding of each text.
Subsequently, I strongly believe that the post-modern play W;t and John Donnes
metaphysical poems through their dramatic representation and poetic
techniques respectively demonstrate humans concern about mortality death
and relationships.
To conclude my speech, I would like to share this quote with you. Despite of
different times, eras and contexts, humans concern about mortality, death and
relationships never changed.
Thank you.

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