What is Jerry's purpose in Edward Albee's The Zoo Story?

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Jerry has been seen by critics as a "Christ figure" or at the very least a martyr who changes Peter's life forever with his short "encounter."  Jerry brings the message to Peter that there is indeed suffering in this world..suffering which Peter may not know in his own life with a wife, 2 daughters, 2 cats and 2 parakeets.  Jerry is determined to convince Peter that Socrates was right when he said "an unexamined life is not worth living."  Jerry dies delivering this message but Peter will never be the same with the knowledge that he was forced...

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