What are the similarities between Roy Cohn and Prior Walter?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Kushner depicts both Cohn and Walter in a very interestingly similar manner.  Both of them seek to find their voice after AIDS ravages their bodies and changes their lives.  Walter struggles with his identity after AIDS changes his physical appearance and emotional sense of self.  Roy has to adapt to life where there is no power for him with AIDS.  He must struggle with his own sense of self, one that is ravaged with the disease and the silence that goes with it.  Both characters deal with forces that are not of "this world."  Prior must deal with being the Prophet of Continental Principalities and reckon with the divine, in the process.  Cohn must reckon with the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg.  In the process, both characters must understand their own conception of self before they contracted the disease with what is there after contraction of the disease.  In the end, this becomes where both are similar.  Despite the fact that they could not be on farther ends of the political agenda spectrum, both of them experience intense reflection and evolution as a result of the disease.

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