I am so glad that the character of Vivian Bearing, PhD exists.
Her male analog has been around in literature, film, and television for a looooong time. But the female version of the hard-as-nails, intellectualism-is-everything, got-no-personal-life professor rarely is seen.
Probably because when men are this character, they're admirable assholes. When women are this character, they're bitches. No quarter given.
Of course, Vivian Bearing, PhD, leading scholar of John Donne and his Holy Sonnets, is given as much and more than she can "bear" in this play, and we must ask ourselves what the relationship of the intellect is to the heart and the physical body.
Death be not proud, for Vivian Bearing has earned her theatrical immortality.