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Written by Nicola Francisc
AIDS and homosexuality
The time setting in which the play is set creates the idea that a gay person is not a man and is just a person without power. Roy is a character that is power driven and the realization that he has AIDS makes him realize that he will lose his power and influence if he were to be associated with the idea of being homosexual. Because of this, Roy is an ironical character. Among all the characters in the play, he is the only one who is obsessed with the idea of power and the one who wants above all to be regarded as a powerful man. Because of this, the fact that he was infected with AIDS is ironical because his new status as a gay person will ruin his chances at climbing the social ladder.
As the play progresses, it becomes clear that Joe is also a homosexual but denies his feelings because of his religion. At one point, he says to his wife that even if he were to be attracted by men, it would make no difference because it is wrong. Ironically, the man who believes that being a homosexual is wrong becomes one himself and Joe finds himself in the position of not being able to do nothing about it.
Money has no power
After Roy Cohn is diagnosed with AIDS, he tries to use his influence and money to try and save himself by making sure he receives an experimental AIDS drug. Ironically, the thing that gave him power can’t save him from dying after he is diagnosed. The political power he has is also worthless when he is faced with death and disease thus proving that the things he considered to be powerful are all worthless.
Helped by the person he killed
After Joe told Roy that he will not go to Washington, Roy revealed his involvement in Ethel Rosenberg’ case that eventually led to her execution. After Roy gives Joe some detail about how he convinced the judges to push for her execution, Joe leaves and Roy is left alone. Roy starts to feel excruciating pain and the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg appears before him. Ironically she is the one who calls the ambulance as there is no other person around him who can help.
The scene when Prior discovers the mysterious book is described ironically. The angel claim that the place where the book was hidden was supposed to be revealed to Prior during his dream but the Angel remains confused when she finds that he has no idea where to find the book. The Angel then behaves awkwardly, not knowing what to do and finds herself in the position to ask for help from an unseen person. When the location of the book is revealed, it proves to be common and disappointing, the book being hidden in the kitchen.
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A recurrent motif in the play is the presence of supernatural phenomenon and supernatural beings. For example, Harper and Prior met in a dream while they both think that the other person is a fragment of their imagination: Harper believes that...