Cartesian Duality

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The attitudes pertaining to one’s context whether religious or secular prompts the transcendence of pertinent human concerns associated with death. John Donne's early modern poetry and Margaret Edson's postmodern play W;t contrastingly explores the intellectual and scientific processing of mortality to obscure one’s anxieties as a source of pride. However, the superficiality of intellectualism and scientific research prompts composer’s to reflect on the value of self-worth, humility and connection. Despite paradigmatic shifts, through treatment of temporal existence, Cartesian Duality, and salvation, both texts precipitate intertextual connections by providing audiences with universal understandings related to death. Fears arising from mortality…show more content…
In ‘Hymne to God my God, in my sicknesse’ through conceit, “Whilst my physicians by their love are grown; Cosmographers, and I their map,” Donne unveils his superficial attitudes towards 17th century medical treatments signifying the objectification of the human body for scientific exploration. This reveals Donne’s own individual conflicts between his attainment of spirituality, and the contextual Enlightenment era, with new discoveries medically and scientifically. Moreover, Donne connects notions of body and soul through his Christian desire for resurrection by symbolically associating himself to Jesus, “…receive me, Lord,” conveying how death allows one to transcend beyond the physical to the spiritual realm. Comparably, Edson’s contemporary secular values of self-worth examines the scientific pursuit of knowledge has overridden human integrity. The lack of dignity is seen where Vivian’s body is reduced to medical jargon in the definite exclamation, “She’s research!” anatomised for the purpose of extracting more scientific knowledge. However, she redeems certain elements of self-worth through nurse Susie who defends her in the repetition of “She’s no code!” Like Donne in ‘Hymne to God…’ Vivian realises how her body will become a relic for science and thus ultimately depersonalised, highlighted by her theatrical monologue, “The article will not be about me, it will be about my ovaries.” Vivian’s fulfils the universality of hope to substantiate her life in the ambiguous stage direction where, “… she is naked, and beautiful, reaching for the light…” becoming introspective of Vivian’s freedom from scientific research. As such, by freeing oneself from the bodily realm, Donne spiritually and W;t emotionally, highlight the importance of self-worth and dignity in achieving a meaningful

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