The Normal Heart Characters
by Larry Kramer

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The Normal Heart Characters

Craig Donner

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He is the first person in the play to be diagnosed with AIDS. He is also dating Bruce Niles. He collapses when he runs towards Bruce to tell him about his condition and is taken back to the hospital for further tests.

Mickey Marcus

He's Craig's friend and works at the New York City Health Department. He's also a member of Ned's gay community and one of the people trying to spread awareness about AIDS to the entire community.

Ned Weeks

He is the main character. He works as an activist and is very interested in the new epidemic. He is determined in understanding AIDS and helping the community. So much so that he starts an organization to spread awareness to the gay community. He's also romantically involved with an infected man, who dies at the end of the play.

Emma Brookner

She is a New York doctor with a special interest in AIDS. She develops a friendship with Ned, who also shares her passion. Together, they help affected and infected gay men with the disease to cope.

Ben Weeks

He is Ned's brother and a lawyer by profession. Despite numerous requests by his brother to support gay men dealing with AIDS, Ben refuses because he fears public humiliation for associating with the homosexual community. Although he's so distant, he actually loves his brother, and he helps Ned's lover draw up a will before he dies so that his assets can be in safe hands.

Bruce Niles

He is the president of Ned's support organization. Ned often argues with him because he takes a moderate approach towards the organization's affairs. He is also someone who loves to have casual relationships and might be infected with the disease.

Felix Turner

He is Ned's lover and a reporter by profession. He eventually dies of AIDS in the last scene.

Tommy Boatwright

He is a volunteer for Ned's organization and a very energetic man. He loves to run errands for the firm and has a secret crush on Ned.

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Ned Weeks

Ned Weeks, a writer and activist who becomes obsessed with the AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) epidemic in its early stages and founds an organization to help gay men who have the disease. Angry, aggressive, and relentless in his tactics, Ned is criticized by most characters in the play, especially for his view that homosexuals should refrain from having sex until a cure is found for AIDS. In spite of his offensive behavior, Ned is the hero of the play. It is clear that he is upset by the deaths of young, gay men and that he is committed to warning those who have not yet been infected, no matter how much he must fight or what price he must pay.

Ben Weeks

Ben Weeks, Ned’s straight brother, a partner in a prestigious New York City law firm. Ned needs Ben’s help in setting up the organization for gay men, support Ben is reluctant to give because he does not want his name or the name of his firm associated with homosexual causes. When Ben refuses to be on the organization’s board of directors, Ned vows not to speak to him until Ben can accept him as his “healthy equal.” The brothers remain estranged until Felix’s death at the end of the play.

Emma Brookner

Emma Brookner, a physician who has devoted her practice to helping gay men infected with the virus eventually identified as AIDS. Besides being a pioneer in the treatment of AIDS, Emma spearheads early efforts to conduct research on the disease, although the medical establishment does little to support her efforts. Strong, angry, and relentless, Emma tries to reach the gay community, through Ned and others, to warn gay men about the disease and to urge them to stop having sex. She treats Felix, Ned’s AIDS-infected lover, and marries Ned and Felix in her hospital.

Bruce Niles

Bruce Niles, Ned’s antithesis . Although both Ned and Bruce are on the board of directors of the gay men’s organization, they have very different ideas about how the organization should respond to the AIDS epidemic. Bruce, as opposed to Ned, is conservative in his approach and is apolitical. Although the two fight about almost...

(The entire section is 1,110 words.)