Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Prior Walter

Prior Walter, a thirty-one-year-old man with AIDS. When his illness becomes serious, he is abandoned by his lover, Louis Ironson. A member of a very old American and British family, he is chosen by the Angels to become a prophet and tell humankind to stop changing and progressing, to give up trying to answer impossible questions. After wrestling with the Angel, Prior is allowed to visit heaven, where he tells the angelic counsel that he will not be their prophet and that humankind cannot stop striving. He asks the Angels to let him live, for no matter how painful life is, he wants more of it.

Louis Ironson

Louis Ironson, a word processor for the Second Court of Appeals in Brooklyn and Prior Walter’s lover. Devoted to Marxism and idealistic leftist politics, Louis tends to intellectualize things. He cannot face Prior’s illness and abandons his lover. He has an affair with Joe Pitt and tries to accept Joe’s justification for selfishness. When he learns that Joe has been the power behind a number of right-wing court decisions, he goads Joe into attacking him physically and beating him. He returns to Prior begging for forgiveness, but even though Prior loves Louis, he will not take him back.

Roy M. Cohn

Roy M. Cohn, a character based upon the actual lawyer of the same name. He is a powerful figure in conservative and right-wing politics. Cohn is an aggressive, ferocious, and sometimes charming man who is not afraid of anything, including breaking the law. Cohn was a prosecutor in the 1950’s treason trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, who were found guilty of selling secrets to the Soviet Union. Cohn illegally lobbied the judge to give Ethel Rosenberg the...

(The entire section is 718 words.)

Angels in America Character Analysis

Angels in America Angel of America

The Angel is one of seven celestial beings who form the Continental Principalities, one representative in Heaven for each continent on Earth....

(The entire section is 115 words.)

Angels in America Roy M. Cohn

The character of Roy M. Cohn is based on the real-life lawyer who prosecuted Ethel and Julius Rosenberg for treason in 1951 and died of AIDS...

(The entire section is 185 words.)

Angels in America Louis Ironson

Louis is a word processor for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York and the lover of first Prior then Joe. He is a semi-closeted...

(The entire section is 282 words.)

Angels in America Hannan Porter Pitt

Hannah is Joe's Mormon mother. After her son calls her late at night from a payphone to confess he is a homosexual, she sells her home in...

(The entire section is 209 words.)

Angels in America Harper Amaty Pitt

Harper is Joe's wife and a link between the real and imagined worlds of the play. In the playwright's words, she is "an agoraphobic with a...

(The entire section is 223 words.)

Angels in America Joseph Porter Pitt

Joe is the chief clerk for Justice Theodore Wilson of the Federal Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, New York. He is a Mormon, married to...

(The entire section is 263 words.)

Angels in America Prior Walter

As much as any other character in this large ensemble work, Prior is the protagonist of Angels in America. He is also the only...

(The entire section is 363 words.)

Angels in America Other Characters

Norman Arriaga
See Belize

Belize, whose real name is Norman Arriaga, is a former drag queen and...

(The entire section is 1319 words.)